True doors assists residents
Residents at Allawah aged care, the memory support unit, have been assisted in identifying their own rooms with the help of True Doors.
True Doors are made-to-measure decals with photos of actual doors. It is a simple idea with a big effect that improves the quality of life for people with dementia as they can recognise and find their own doors, makes their new residence feel more like home and brings some of the residents identities and life stories to the fore.
In 2017 Allawah Memory support unit conducted the Montessori Project in conjunction with Dementia Australia to adopt an innovative model of care into the unit to improve the resident's quality of life and provide best practise care for those living with Dementia.
It was around this time Nurse Unit Manager Keira Brookes and current Acting Nurse Unit Manager Jane Griffin became aware of a project developing momentum within Australia called True Doors so in March 2018 Keira and Jane travelled to Bendigo to meet with the manager at Mercy Health Bethlehem, Chris Blackman, whose facility had just completed the first ever True doors project in Australia.
“We were blown away and tremendously excited by what we saw,” Ms Griffin said.
“True doors replace a clinical and impersonal atmosphere with a friendlier and home like environment, with multiple benefits such as helping wayfinding with less wandering into the wrong room, awakens memories, creates a sense of pride in the resident for their door and room and stimulates memory and helps with orientation.”
Each individual door is chosen by the resident and their families so they have personal significance to them or they liked the style.
“There is a selection of 500 decals all up through True Doors although we provided the residents and families with 60 options so they weren't too overwhelmed,” Griffin said.
“Since the first time we saw the doors in Bendigo, we began advocating for the benefits that the doors would bring to support our residents living with Dementia in Allawah.
“I had the opportunity to present the project to Helping Hands 12 months ago, and with the support of Jo Spence we were given 100% financial support to complete our project.
“Ava May Foundation were absolutely fantastic and donated the full amount of $6000 to Helping Hands which in turn we received and were able to order the decals.
“They arrived several weeks ago and one third of the doors are now up but all 28 rooms we have in Allawah will be ‘decorated'.
“This project is setting the residents up for success.”
“Each of the six residents who have already had their door decals done love the new look and we have already seen improvement as it is less likely that a resident will walk into the wrong room, and a greater chance others will knock before they enter.
“Most of the residents have picked decals that resemble what they had at home or a
place of significance to them.
“Both as staff and when residents have had family members visit, we have noticed how it brightens the hallways and gives a more home like feel.”
Eva May foundation creator Glenys Davis, who injects a major portion of available funds into local community projects, said this project was a no-brainer to donate to as it benefits not just the residents of Allawah, but the staff and families of residents and is a lovely thing for the community to know funds are going towards.
“We are community minded and always want to give back to the community where we can so when we were approached by Helping Hands we jumped straight on board,” Ms Davis said.
“We are proud to have been a part of this project which is giving back to residents.”
Helping Hands committee members Vivian Spilva and Ros Vodusek also attended the unveiling of the doors with both commenting what a great initiative it is and how it is the perfect one for Helping Hands to be involved in.
“They are beautiful and such a great idea to bring a bit of home to the residents. With all of the doors being the same colour originally, this now gives everyone their own identities,” Ms Spilva said.
“As members of Helping Hands, by undertaking this project it has provided us with a
unique marketing opportunity, to again show that Yarrawonga Health is a leader in the field of Innovative Dementia care.
“The doors look so much like the real thing and not just a roll of decal. It is great to hear how they have assisted the residents so far and we are so proud to be a part of a project like this one,” Ms Vodusek added.
“This type of project also supports the values of Yarrawonga Health, in excellence and in compassions as well as ticking the boxes of the Yarrawonga Health Philosophy of Care Model.”
Projects like these are only made possible with the assistance of Helping Hands with committee members always happy to discuss with anyone in the community about a potential donation to assist with upcoming projects.
Committee members include: Jackie Smith, Liz Seeliger, Andrew Brown, Renata Buckmaster, Cara Drake, board representative Peter Bennett, Vivian Spilva, Ros Vodusek, Mia McCully, Gil Cunningham and Jo Spence.
Helping Hands is also hosting two events in coming weeks with a movie night to see “Empire of Light” on March 23 and a garden party at Rich Glen on April 30.
▯ To find out more about these events and to purchase your ticket contact Yarrawonga Health Co-ordinator of Volunteers Jo Spence on 0460033416 or by email at or