Montessori Garden

Montessori model of care begins and ends with choice

To meet the needs of the rising number of people living with dementia now and into the future, WDHS, in partnership with Alzheimer’s Australian (Vic), is excited to be leading a collaborative project.  We are introducing the Montessori model of care into our Residential Aged Care facilities in Hamilton, Penshurst and Coleraine.  The project is extending regionally including 6 other health care services (Heywood Rural Health, Portland District Health, Moyne Health, Terang and Mortlake Health, South West Healthcare and Colac Area Health).

Montessori philosophies are based on respect, dignity and equality.  The aged care facilities at WDHS can offer every person, despite the level of care and support required, an opportunity to engage in meaningful activities, make meaningful contributions to their community in addition to having the opportunity to maintain, or even restore function.   The model is a person-centred model of care that is evidence based and has been proven to improve the quality of life for the frail elderly and people living with dementia.  This project is about finding ways to connect and reconnect with the humanity in people with dementia and to create the kind of place we would like to live in.

“The greatest source of discouragement is the conviction that one is unable to do something” – Maria Montessori

The benefits of the Montessori model of care include:

  • Better care outcomes for those living with dementia
  • Freedom of choice
  • Maintenance or improvement of skills required for daily living
  • Increased sense of importance and satisfaction for the resident when involved and contributing to their community
  • Studies show an improvement in behaviours often associated with dementia i.e. wandering
  • More meaningful family visits
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Reduction in the use of antipsychotic and sedative medications

Eryn Cottier, Nurse Unit Manager at The Birches said “Changing the environment will be easy.  Our strong Leadership Team and staff are committed to providing quality care to those living with dementia.  Establishing the Montessori principles will be a positive direction for The Birches residents, families and staff.”

Leadership Teams from all facilities are attending training from January to June 2016.  This training is combined with practical workshops and in-house mentoring and support at each facility.  This will help ensure WDHS and the participating health services successfully embed this model of care into every day practice.

If you would like any more information on the Montessori Project, please contact your Facility Manager or myself on the contact details below.

Eryn Cottier
Nurse Unit Manager – The Birches
Western District Health Service
Ph: (03) 5551 8519 |

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