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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Ask Annie app offers dementia ‘micro-lessons’ to support home care workers

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Dementia Australia has launched an innovative mobile app aimed at improving the quality of care for people living with dementia.

Developed with the assistance of Gandel Philanthropy, Ask Annie helps build the skills of home support and community care workers.  

The app offers short, self-paced learning modules to help home support and community care workers refresh their skills and learn tips and techniques to provide better care to people living with dementia and guides users through a range of scenarios, based on real life experiences, to strengthen their dementia care skills. 

“The app is an easy to use, convenient training tool, able to be purchased by provider organisations as a multi-licence package for their staff to access anywhere and anytime,” Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM said.

“Once the team member signs up to the app, Annie is there to provide encouragement, tips and to offer ongoing training that is accessible whenever the care worker wants to schedule in a quick 10 or 15 minute check-in – across the country,” McCabe said.

The app was developed with Deakin University’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2), thanks to the generous support of Gandel Philanthropy. 

Gandel Philanthropy CEO Vedran Drakulic OAM said Ask Annie showcases how technology can be applied to improve dementia education and aged care in Australia. 

“Ask Annie provides workers in the aged care industry with the opportunity to receive dementia-specific training that is practical, accessible and flexible enough to fit into their demanding days,” Drakulic said.

“The vision for Ask Annie was to create a unique and immersive learning experience that directly leads to learning outcomes that can be translated into everyday practice. 

BlueCross general manager Bridget Howes believes Ask Annie will significantly help home support and community care workers to develop their skills and improve care for people living with dementia. 

“Ask Annie can help to strengthen the skills of our team so that they can be even better carers for people living with dementia,” Howes said. 

“The fact that it’s accessible on a mobile phone and for our home carers, on the tablets they use at work, makes it really convenient too.

“It means that, for example, if one of our home carers has questions about how to care for a client living with dementia, like mealtimes or showering, they could take a few minutes before they arrive at their home to brush up on some tips that could help alleviate any challenges that may arise in the situation.

“After a quick refresher, they would feel more equipped and empowered to better support the person in their care.”

Ask Annie can be purchased through Dementia Australia’s Centre for Dementia Learning here.

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