Synergy of Interdiscipinary Teamwork

Synergy of Interdiscipinary Teamwork: Virtual Dementia Tour Simulation in Long Term Care

Lisa MacNaughton-Doucet, Dalhousie University; Karine Smith, Nova Scotia Health Authority; Patricia Hattie, Meadows Home for Special Care

The Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) is an evidence-informed simulation designed to enhance sensitivity for caregivers of persons with dementia. The simulation replicates the decline of participants’ sensory, cognitive, and physical functions as they are ushered into a darkened room to complete five simple tasks. A three-way interdisciplinary planning team was formed with the goal of offering this simulation to long-term care staff. The team consisted of an education coordinator of a long-term care facility, faculty member of a baccalaureate nursing program, and dementia resource consultant within a health district. With robust success, the VDT was provided to 68 persons in a long-term care facility over two days. Participants spanned several disciplines including staff from recreation, rehabilitation, kitchen, housekeeping, nursing, continuing care assistants, management, and volunteers. Each team member had a specialized contribution and if left to work in ‘silos’, the implementation of the VDT would have been challenging or may not have occurred. Working in a diverse team permitted valuable sharing of knowledge and resources; and the synergy among team members throughout planning and implementation contributed to its success. From an interdisciplinary lens there was both extrinsic and intrinsic value in the experience. It has been a win-win-win!