Institute for Health & Ageing

Staff as Change Agents report August 2016

The Staff as Change Agents report examines Staff as change agents in the management of depression and behavioural problems associated with dementia in aged care settings.

Professor Marita McCabe and her team in collaboration with residential care agencies have been conducting research to address depression and behaviour and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) in both the community and residential care for the past 15 years.

Chief investigators for this Staff as Change Agents project, completed in 2016, were Professor Marita McCabe, Professor David Mellor, Dr Tanya Davison, Dr Gery Karantzas, Professor Kathryn Von Treuer, Professor Daniel O’Connor.

This research highlighted the importance of adopting a collaborative approach: one that provides useful information and programs to aged care facilities as well as contributing to our broader understanding of factors related to health problems among residents. Two of the major tools from the project were the Simple checklist for identifying depressive symptoms and the Challenging behaviour and dementia in residential care: risk assessment and management instrument. These tools assisted care staff to better monitor and manage depression and behaviours in their residents.

The final report identifies the importance of developing the skills of aged care staff in working with residents experiencing depression and BPSD, while also building the organisational capacities of aged care staff and facilities to sustain changes in practice.

The study was conducted in conjunction with BlueCross Community and Residential Services, Royal Freemasons Ltd, Aged Care Services Australia Group, Gold Age Aged Care, Allity, Sapphire Care, Bupacare, McKenzie Aged Care Group, Medical and Aged Care Group, The Alliance Care Services Group and Belvedere Aged Care residential facilities