Digital educational tools bolstering aged care worker skills

Dementia Australia digital tools are leading the way for aged care education.

Experiential education Talk with Ted and the mobile learning tool Ask Annie are two innovative products from Dementia Australia leading the way in education for the aged care workforce, helping to enhance the quality of care provided to people living with dementia.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said both digital tools are specifically designed to meet the needs of aged care workers, enabling them to more readily access support and strengthen their skill set.

Maree McCabe

“Ask Annie is a mobile app available to all care workers anywhere in Australia which can be downloaded for free along with access to five free modules,” Ms McCabe said.

“It offers short, self-paced learning modules to help care workers refresh their skills and learn tips and tools to provide better care to people living with dementia.”

Ms McCabe said extensive research and planning went into determining the best method of education, which is why the tool is so successful.

“We identified challenges that workers can typically face such as finding time to access training and support during the course of the day,” Ms McCabe said.

“We developed Ask Annie as a solution that would overcome these challenges, while also being engaging, relatable and immediately implementable. Workers have the flexibility to take five to ten minutes at a time and place that suits them, to access tips, strategies, encouragement and support based on their individual needs.”

Ask Annie applies a person-centred approach which is central to quality dementia care. Users learn how to set the individual and their needs at the forefront of every interaction and have respectful communication.

Ask Annie is constantly growing with 11 modules that cover topics key to dementia care, including the latest on body language which was released last month.

“Body language is so important – 55 per cent of communication is non-verbal and people living with dementia interpret body language along with facial expressions and tone of voice with greater accuracy than words,” Ms McCabe said.

“So being aware of our body language, how it might be interpreted and making sure it is clear and  as positive as possible can really help people living with dementia feel at ease.”

Other module topics include financial elder abuse, communication, and key concepts for dementia care. It can be downloaded individually via the Google Play Store or Apple App Store with free access to five modules.

The full application with access to all modules is $60 per person per year. Organisations can access multi-license package options for full access along with a user dashboard to monitor usage and engagement.  For more information please visit Ask Annie.

Another leading learning resource is Dementia Australia’s Talk with Ted. This is a world first to dementia care education using an artificially intelligent avatar and creating an immersive experience for users.

Talk with Ted uses artificial intelligence technology to provide an online simulation of a typical communication experience between a care worker and someone living with dementia.  

The tool is designed to educate care workers to better communicate with and support people living with dementia.

“This world-leading tool increases understanding of dementia and builds empathy which improves the quality of care delivered by care workers,“ Ms McCabe said.

“We’ve had very positive feedback from individuals and aged care providers who have used Talk with Ted, as it provides a safe environment to learn key skills for communicating with a person living with dementia – and adapt their approach through practice in a safe environment.

“We’ve also found through research that users retain and implement their learnings from Talk with Ted in everyday life.

“This ultimately enables people to provide the best possible care and provide people living with dementia a better quality of life.”

Ted has symptoms of a person living with dementia and conveys emotions including happiness, confusion, anger and frustration. The tool is based on an experiential approach, focusing on improving gaps in the individuals’ knowledge and experience.

The program incorporates a number of scenarios that may occur when supporting a person living with dementia, which users are guided through to meet milestones.

Talk with Ted can be purchased by individuals and all aged care providers across Australia.

For more information on Talk with Ted and to purchase, please visit our website , email cdl@dementia.org.au or call 1300 DEMENTIA (1300 336 368).