The technology that's changing our perceptions of dementia

The technology that’s changing our perception of dementia, and the woman behind it all

Our latest series #CelebratingWomeninAgedCare brings to light the stories of unsung women in the industry: Women who work tirelessly and passionately to make a very real difference to the lives of our elderly. Thanks very much to our partner, Mirus Australia. 

Rebecca Hogan is at the forefront of a new normal in aged care– one that sees greater awareness and treatment for those living with dementia and support for their families.

As the Operations Manager at Churches of Christ Queensland, Hogan and her team are overseeing a national rollout of an experiential education program, Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT)–  technology that has the scope to redefine the way society views and treats patients with dementia.

“Following the success of millions of people around the world having benefited from the VDT, the acclaimed education program is now set to transform the hearts and mindsets of Australians on dementia,” Hogan says.

The VDT is medically and scientifically proven to be the closest we can give a person with a healthy brain an experience of what dementia might be like. It’s used to empower aged care staff to develop self-management strategies to effectively deliver empathetic person-centred practice.

With an ageing population and an aged care sector under immense public scrutiny, Hogan says there’s never been a more appropriate time to disrupt the system. Improving the interpersonal skills and connectedness of aged care workers is an essential part of meeting the new Australian Government Aged Care Quality Standards (ACQS) effective July 2019.

On 1 July 2017, Churches of Christ commenced delivering the VDT to more than 2,500 aged care staff and the program officially launched on 1 November 2018, extending its reach to support external organisations and communities across Australia.

Rebecca Hogan and her team at Churches of Christ Queensland


“As a sign of unity in the midst of negative public perceptions, we are collaborating with age care providers and education institutions nationally and see this as an opportunity to highlight that industry professionals are committed to improving the lives of our population,” Hogan says.

It’s a role and responsibility that Hogan loves; her pride in the game-changing work Churches of Christ Queensland does is palpable when we speak. The work however, is often unpredictable and calls for efficiency, agility and a resilient approach to engaging others in collaborative partnerships. She has a passionate team of 15 staff, who travel across Australia with a well-defined vision to transform the way people engage, communicate and care for people living with dementia.

“One day I’m presenting to a roomful of passionate aged care providers for Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) conferences across Australia and the next day I’m working alongside my team and supporting them with the challenges they face when delivering the VDT to stakeholders,” Hogan shares.

“The diversity of my role is what excites me to get up and come to work every morning. If we remain resilient and flexible in our approach to work, then no task is too big or too small that we can’t tackle as a team.”

Hogan can see a bright, empathetic and innovative future for aged care in Australia and the VDT program at Churches of Christ Queensland is forging that path.

“Our program has the capacity to be the spearhead to unite providers and create environments, where intuition and innovation will be fostered to better support and make positive connections and give confidence to families that their loved one will live a life of fulfilment in our care,” she says.

“I work for an incredible organisation that continually supports individuals to excel far beyond their own goals and I couldn’t picture myself in any other organisation, it’s like a family.”

Other pieces from this series include:

60+ kilos shed: How a new career in aged care transformed Katerina Vasiliadis’ life

Why Tanvi Dalal sees aged care as an industry of scope and innovation

‘They called it my folly’: How Natasha Chadwick had the last laugh & turned aged care on its head

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