Northern Dementia Respite Initiative

Staff involved: Gwyn Jolley and Stacey Masters

SACHRU successfully tendered for the evaluation of the Northern Dementia Respite Initiative (NDRI), a collaborative venture to provide flexible respite options for carers of people with dementia. The project was funded through the Office for the Ageing, Department of Human Services.

Project partners include:

  • Metropolitan Domiciliary Care - Northern Region
  • Helping Hand Aged Care
  • Alzheimer's Australia SA
  • Wesley Uniting Care Bowden - North & West Metropolitan Adelaide Commonwealth Carer Respite Centre

The Northern Dementia Respite Initiative comprises a respite facility that can accommodate overnight and weekend clients complemented by education, counselling and information services for carers.

Once the respite facility was operational, project partners began to explore how best to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) clients and other special needs groups. To this end, NDRI funding has supported the development of offsite and mobile respite programs for CALD and indigenous communities as well as those clients with dementia who live alone and remain physically active. Initiatives include a mobile respite program for Aboriginal clients and a 'Saturdays for Us' program for active men, in conjunction with the City of Tea Tree Gully.

A formative evaluation was undertaken with the NDRI Management Group providing several opportunities for feedback, most notably at the Strategic Planning forum in February 2004. The evaluation report was informed by a carer questionnaire, participant observation of consumer advisory group meetings, conversations with carers and a survey of stakeholders (project partners, a funding representative and operational staff).

The evaluation found that the program was highly valued by carers and responsive to the needs of people with dementia. The NDRI was also an important initiative in terms of system learning. As a formal partnership of four agencies, the NDRI had to grapple with defining roles and parameters for the partnership vis-à-vis the auspice in terms of strategic and operational management.

The final report was accepted in April 2004.