Daniella Greenwood is an international consultant, keynote speaker and published author specialising in human rights policy and practice in long-term care. Her dissertation looked at human rights practice as it relates to people living in the later stages of dementia. In her role as National Strategy and Innovation Manager for Arcare Aged Care, Australia, Daniella was responsible for developing and implementing the internationally acclaimed and award-winning relational approach and consistent staffing model across the organization. Daniella has presented her work as a keynote speaker including for Alzheimer’s Disease International in 2015 and Dementia Action Alliance in 2019.
Combating ageism, dementia-ism and paternalism in long-term care: Human rights as a practice model
Daniella Greenwood, Daniella Greenwood & Associates, Australia
Ageism, dementia-ism and paternalism structure the lives of older people living in long-term care, diminishing their status as equal citizens. Person-centred and relationship-centred approaches have failed to address the deeply embedded philosophical and operational influence of the medical/institutional model and paternalistic assumptions. People living with dementia in these institutions continue to be treated as patients rather than as adult citizens, exposing them to regular, unchallenged and often casual breaches of their human rights justified as ‘best interests’ or as ‘interventions’ to manage what are commonly referred to as the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
The focus on ‘culture change’ has further obscured the urgency of our obligation to address the blatant and often state-sanctioned human rights breaches in long-term care which in any other care context would be regarded as profoundly unjust and, in many instances, illegal.
A human rights lens is applied with practical examples outlining the possibility of creating an environment of recognition and true respect in long-term care through solidarity in aligning operations, attitudes, practices and processes with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The paper builds on the work completed in a BA (Hons 1) dissertation at Charles Sturt University and reviews the development of a human rights practice model including the creation of human rights assessment tools, operational guidelines and training resources for an aged care organisation in Australia.