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The WISER Approach - what is it?

The WISER Approach, a unique Omnicare initiative, uses the principles of Montessori in a community setting and is based on Wellbeing, Innovation, Support, Enablement and Research. Through this we aim to improve the quality of life for individuals by focusing on the abilities, skills and interests of the person with cognitive and/or physical impairment. WISER provides opportunities to enhance confidence and self-esteem - also a sense of achievement and control – with the aim of maintaining community connections.

How does WISER help?

Omnicare’s WISER Approach focusses on creating a culture of dignity, respect and enablement with an aim to deliver stronger outcomes for our clients, their carers and the professionals that provide support.

The WISER Approach defines individuals in terms of their abilities – not just what they can do, but what they can learn (or even re-learn) to do. Involving everyone at home in daily routines reduces stress and improves interpersonal connections – and that’s the first step towards maximising independence.

Omnicare works with clients and carers to find meaning and purpose in everyday life. By explaining strategies to shore up skills, we empower them to work with one another, rather than having carers do everything.

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How did it come about?

Omnicare’s WISER team initiated this approach to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia that attended our day centres.

In the early part of the 20th century, Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator, devised methods to engage children – revolving around their individual strengths. Her philosophy has taken hold across the world and the principles have been applied to other areas.

The use of Montessori methods for dementia has been around in more recent times. It was after attending a conference, at which internationally recognised US academic Dr Cameron Camp was a keynote speaker, that our staff realised these methods should be adopted.

This inspired the initiative that has become The WISER Approach. Omnicare has evolved the adoption of Montessori methods by addressing the role of carers and support workers, with education, training and pastoral support; and in commissioning research by Southern Cross University.

As evidenced by Montessori education, these principles are relevant for all walks of life. It’s the way we approach delivering all our services. All Omnicare staff undergo WISER training. The initiative applies to the support we provide in clients’ homes, in the community and at our social support group day centres.

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