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Rethinking Dementia: An Australian Approach

Rethinking Dementia will not change the Bedlam-style institutions in which we as a generation are incarcerating those of our parents who live long enough, but it makes a valuable start in changing our thinking by pointing out that the ‘resident’s rights’ of which aged-care bureaucrats speak so fondly are totally undermined by the design, philosophy and staffing ratios of generic nursing homes.

By offering a new way of seeing and dealing with people with dementia, this book can help to make life easier and more pleasant for people with dementia (who make up between 60 and 80 per cent of nursing-home clientele) and for the staff who care for them, for whom this book is written.

The book challenges the medical model, which lumps all forms of dementia into one, defines it as a disease and turns almost all of its resources to the search for a ‘magic bullet’ cure, leaving those who are afflicted to endure the discomfort of eternal hospitalisation in nice new stainless steel nursing-home wards — those who are lucky enough, that is, to have pushy relatives who can keep them out of the urine-soaked older generation of nursing homes.

The model of care developed in this book is one of culturally accepted difference. It emphasises the value and abilities of people with dementia, instead of their disabilities. The chapter on communication, which draws on the author’s own experience with her dementing mother, has valuable insights for carers and family members

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Contents include

  • The nature of dementia
  • The biomedical bases of dementia
  • The psychological bases of dementia
  • Stimulus and stress
  • Dementia and communication
  • New ways of seeing dementia
  • The ELTOS model
  • Establishing the right managerial environment
  • The physical environment
  • Providing stimulation in daily care
  • Holistic care planning

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Author / Editor Biographies

Associate Professor Sally Garratt has 31 years' experience as a nurse with 15 years in teaching. She has a particular interest in gerontological nursing and has undertaken research, consultancy and clinical practice in the field. One of her major projects has been the development of nursing-home care in Singapore and developing an understanding of the cultural differences in aged care in Asia and Australia. This book is the outcome of a research project undertaken to study the models of care provided for older people with dementia. The multidisciplinary approach taken by the project has genera...
Elery Hamilton-Smith is visiting Fellow, Lincoln Gerontology Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, and Director of Rethink Consulting Pty Ltd. He has 45 years' experience in social research and social planning, having worked at the community level, then as a social planning consultant across some 25 countries and eventually as a member of the Leisure Studies Department at Preston, later Phillip, Institute of Technology, then RMIT University. He has wide-ranging interests in social policy and social development, and has been a visiting professor at many universities in North America and Europ...


Established in 1987, Ausmed Publications is the print publishing arm of Ausmed Education, a company is dedicated to producing high quality healthcare education in the form of: Seminars and Conferences, Online Resources, Video Learning Activities and Textbooks.

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