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Aging Ment Health. 2019 Jun 10:1-10. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2019.1594163. [Epub ahead of print]

Peer-enabled staff training in residential care settings as means for promoting person-centred dementia care.

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a Discipline of Occupational Therapy, University of Sydney , Lidcombe , NSW , Australia.
b Department of Occupational Therapy, University of the Free State , Bloemfontein , South Africa.
c Independent Senior Dementia Care Specialist , Palm Grove , NSW , Australia.


Background: Person-centred care (PCC) is regarded as best practice within dementia care, however there is a gap between the understanding and the implementation of this type of care practice. The Peer Enablement Program (PEP) incorporates a group problem solving model for promoting PCC of residents with moderate to advanced dementia living in care facilities. Objective: Trained PEP facilitators introduced the program to selected staff from an organisation with 99 facilities across Australia. The objective of this study was to identify what particular aspects of the PEP these facilitators valued for advancing PCC and care culture change. Method: An embedded mixed methods study design guided this investigation. The qualitative component of the study focussed on the insights of the nine PEP facilitators who presented the workshops. This information was supported and contrasted with descriptive data generated from 322 workshop feedback forms by attendees over the course of the three workshops presented nationally. Results: Facilitators identified peer support as the most valued aspect of the PEP. It promoted collaboration among attendees; supported development of their occupational identities as transformational leaders; and created communities of practice with potential to sustain advances in PCC. Conclusions: The PEP has the potential to advance PCC. Further research is needed to evaluate the long-term sustainability of these advances and to determine if this program can be utilised more widely, both in a national and international context.


Transformational leadership; community of practice; group problem solving; occupational identity; residential aged care

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