De-escalation VR training for behavioural emergencies set to revolutionise dementia education – on show today at Adelaide Convention Centre

Dementia Australia

In Adelaide today Dementia Australia unveiled D-Esc, a new innovative virtual reality (VR) training workshop for de-escalating a behavioural emergency in a care setting.

D-Esc provides an immersive simulation, designed for frontline and health care professionals, to adopt an interactive approach to de-escalation training. Participants will build empathy and understanding towards people with dementia, with the aim to reduce the use of restrictive practices and the number and severity of dangerous incidents in care.

Dementia Australia Executive Director Services, Advocacy and Research Dr Kaele Stokes said this new workshop provides training which is integral to the safety and professional development of the workforce and to improving the care of people living with dementia.

“Behavioural emergencies and occupational violence in aged care are time-critical emergencies,” said Dr Stokes.

“We know that dementia can change people’s behaviour. People living with dementia may feel anxious, fearful, distressed, confused. They may also be in pain or disorientated.

“Sometimes the way they are experiencing a situation may mean a person is unable to communicate how they feel or what they are experiencing in the familiar ways.

“Additionally, the way a care worker communicates with people living with dementia is vital. Communication is not just talking.

“Gestures, movement and facial expressions can all convey meaning. Body language and physical contact become significant when speech is difficult for a person with dementia.

“Course participants will build their empathy, increase their understanding of dementia and skills in communication, recognising emotional and physical signs of escalation and how to reduce the risk of harm for both the person with dementia, other residents, visitors and staff.

“D-Esc leverages technology to build participants’ confidence and capability to assess and respond effectively to changed behaviours safely.”

Dementia Australia Dementia Advocate Phil Hazell lives with younger onset dementia. Mr Hazell believes that training like this is important for promoting understanding and awareness around dementia.

“I like to know that I am understood. It is important that people comprehend what dementia is and how it can affect people differently,” said Mr Hazell.

“Training can help workers to understand, approach and help people living with dementia, without making assumptions.”

The first launch for D-Esc to the aged care sector was in Sydney on Thursday 23 May. Further events are scheduled in Adelaide Wednesday 29 May, Adelaide Convention Centre, 10:00 – 11:30am and Melbourne Thursday 6 June, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 10:00 – 11:30am where guests can experience demonstrations.

The D-Esc workshops are designed for frontline health and aged care workers across residential, home and community care, primary and acute care and disability care. Workshop delivery is an in person 3-hour workshop, with up to 15 participants.

D-Esc is a fully funded workshop until 30 June 2025, available to 6,500 eligible participants. To confirm the eligibility of your staff please visit dementia.org.au/d-esc

/Public Release.