In memory of Mrs Anne Gibson, the Helping Hand Dementia Scholarship was established in 2020 to provide staff with opportunities to pursue their passion for helping people living with dementia.
CBB support our fellow not for profits with the delivery of meaningful projects and programs as part of our commitment to supporting our sector and community. We proudly support our sector to improve its capacity and sustainability; since Helping Hand and its workforce are valued customers of CBB, we donated money to assist the delivery of the scholarship in its first year. All up, the scholarship fund supported 18 Helping Hand employees to access specialised education in dementia care. The partnership reflects CBB’s ongoing commitment to building the capacity and sustainability of the not for profit sector.
“At CBB, we invest our surplus into meaningful projects, so that we can support not for profits to create better outcomes for the community. There has never been a more pertinent time to support the learning and development of the aged care workforce to better care for older Australians.”
– Michael Elias, Chief Executive Officer, CBB
Scholarship recipients were able to choose from a range of training and education programs. Some chose to undertake the Centre for Dementia Learning’s Meaningful Engagement Mentors Program, which was recently delivered in South Australia for the first time. Over the course of four months, participants pair with a colleague and design an outcomes-focused engagement program for one resident that they often support.
Staff who complete the Meaningful Engagement Mentors Program will become Helping Hand Dementia Champions. These employees will take on the important task of mentoring their colleagues to provide meaningful engagement for residents living with dementia.
Another popular choice among staff is the Diploma of Dementia Care through the University of Tasmania. This program is delivered online and employs a flexible mode of learning across two years, supporting staff who work variable rosters.
Many of the scholarship recipients work in regional communities, where there is a shortage of support available for people living with dementia. Recipients work in all areas of the Helping Hand workforce: home care, residential care, and corporate services; this provides a holistic approach to implementing best practice for all clients, regardless of the services they receive.
Additionally, the scholarship has provided a unique learning experience for one Helping Hand staff member. John Blackwell, a home care worker in regional SA, had the opportunity to attend the International Dementia Conference, which was presented by Hammond Care and featured speakers from around the world. The month-long conference was held online, and so John was able to select and attend 42 presentations virtually. One of John’s key take-aways from the conference is the importance of including people with dementia in any decisions about the services and care they receive. This speaks to the importance of the adage ‘nothing about us without us’ within the community services.
“I am incredibly proud of the commitment of Helping Hand to increase education and understanding around dementia, and I am indebted to (CBB’s) contribution to enable our organisation to invest in our staff and to see the positive flow-on in quality service delivery.”
– Chris Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Helping Hand
The Helping Hand Dementia Scholarship has positive implications within a broader context; the aged care sector is in a period of transition after the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. As such, aged care providers must now concentrate their efforts to broaden the skillset and knowledge base of their workforce in order to provide a high standard of care. Helping Hand are on the right track with the scholarship, and we will continue to support future endeavours that create better outcomes for sector staff and people living with dementia.