A collection of realistic scenarios place the user in the room with a dementia patient.
Working with Western District Health Service (WDHS) and South West TAFE, Start Beyond developed an experiential micro-credential skills VR training solution for aged care workers & TAFE students which focused on caring for elderly people with dementia.
WDHS identified the need for current staff as well as students seeking to enter the industry to have better soft skills, particularly around communication across different job roles and with the residents and patients receiving care.
A program was designed to provide a better understanding of how to manage dementia patients for TAFE students seeking to enter the Aged Care industry and be used as a tool to upskill staff at WDHS via a powerful and relatable learning experience centred around soft skills, empathy and communication.
A suite of authentic interactive VR scenarios were produced, combining WDHS’ in-house experience with dementia patients, SWTAFE’s knowledge of building skills-centric course curriculums and Start Beyond’s expertise in shooting and producing live-action 360° reality experiences.
Shot in first person, the camera represented the User’s perspective. By having the dementia resident talk directly to the camera it created the sensation of the resident talking directly to the User, thereby placing the User inside the situation.
Confronted by the resident’s behaviour, the user is offered a range of options. What they choose determines the resident’s reaction and illustrates to the user the impact of positive versus poor communication skills.
The benefits of the program were extensive. It overcame the challenges associated with deploying “on-the-floor” training by providing a timely, cost-effective and safe space for individuals to improve their soft skills without the emotional impact of real life and provided a stepping stone to improve long-term skill development.
Its deployment across all departments of WDHS brought disparate groups together, thereby significantly improving staff morale and interdepartmental collaboration. It also increased staff engagement and career motivation with increased participants enrolling in the WDHS Workplace Careers Program.
Following on from the success of this program, further micro-credentials are being developed, and the Start Beyond, WDHS & SWTAFE were a nominated finalist for the 2021 innovAGEING Awards in the category Increasing Care and Service Productivity.