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The Eden Alternative™ philosophy of care

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Wesley Mission Queensland is the only aged care provider in Queensland with Eden fully registered aged care communities. The Eden Alternative™ philosophy of care is not a medical model of care – it’s a different way of thinking about aged care where you can have fun, celebrate life, spend time with pets, enjoy nature and your hobbies. 
Dovetree staff holding resident pet cats, their Eden philosophy companions

A life of meaning, purpose and grace

Our vision at Wesley Mission Queensland is a compassionate, just and inclusive society with our customers at the heart of everything we do. As part of our commitment to person-centred care, we adopted the Eden Alternative culture change model™ in 2002. We have over 150 staff trained as Eden Associates. We even have residents in our aged care homes who have undertaken Eden training to become Eden Ambassadors within their community!

The Eden Alternative™ philosophy of care is underpinned by rigorous international standards, some of which can take up to three years for accreditation. The Eden Alternative™ philosophy of care focuses on eliminating loneliness, helplessness and boredom from the lives of seniors living in aged care communities or their own home, by creating opportunities, meaningful engagement and spontaneity.

- Eden was founded in the 1990s in America, where a GP, Dr. Bill Thomas was doing his rounds in a nursing home. And he sat from a resident's bed and asked her how you are today. And he had his prescription pad ready. And the resident said to him, well, actually, I'm so lonely. I'm so bored and I feel so helpless. And Dr. Bill Thomas looked at his script pad and he said, I don't have a tablet to fix that, but I need to fix it. I have a responsibility to fix it. So out of that was born the Eden Alternative, and it is a philosophy of care that changes the culture of how we care for our residents in aged care homes. And it takes us from the medical model, of which traditionally aged care came from and takes us on a journey to a resident centered model. While I was very privileged in 2001, Dr. Bill Thomas came to Australia and he ran the first Eden Alternative Conference. And it was amazing. And what I heard, what I saw, where I felt, I thought this has gotta be the way for our residents and for the staff and for the culture. So at that conference I was so absolutely impacted by what he said. I couldn't even talk about it for a month because I realized that what he had shared and what the Eden represented, actually was going to make a huge difference to the residents who live at Wesley Mission Queensland. So one of the first impactful things was actually it's okay to have fun in aged care. Eden said that the introduction of animals and children and life and celebration is an absolute wonderful way and has an incredibly positive impact on our residents.

- While we were looking for the right place for mom we just instantly got a wonderful feeling about this place. Their history in high care was very attractive because we wanted to make sure that mum was cared for well. And then mum didn't have to change her day to day routines too much. She likes to go to bed late and the TV on during the night. So if she woke up, she could hear a noise and that was no trouble.

- I went out on the Christmas lights, that was very nice to go around. The bus driver certainly knew his way. And he had a door planned out.

- You go and play Romeo.

- I play Romeo

- Yeah. And you like going to church and you love when the concerts come, the whole family concert is lovely and the school kids come and always interview you and you do it

- Vegas hot biscuits, morning tea.

- As far as facilities go, especially speaking to friends, who've got family members in similar facilities, I feel very blessed.

- While all of our homes are on the Eden registration journey. And really this is a never ending process. It's a lifelong journey and it requires commitment from everyone involved. The Eden Alternative gives us a framework for the way we do things and is also based on our Wesley Mission Queensland Charter which includes the values and the seven domains of wellbeing, which are, identity, growth, autonomy, security, connectedness, meaning, and joy. And this ensures that people can live life to the fullest. A great example of how we put Eden into action at Anum Cara is by ensuring that residents have close and continuing contact with plants, animals, and children. We started a great project with the local high school and we now have got students coming as student companions. So the students come regularly once a week and go for walks with the residents, to read books with the residents or play board games and both residents and students just love it. I think one of the most important things is that decision making has been shifted from management to residents as much as possible. So we are bringing decision making closest to residents and those that are involved in the resident's life.

- It is actually homes all over the world. So Iceland, UK, Europe, New Zealand, America are all part of the Eden philosophy. And that gives us an ability to connect, to learn, to grow and to actually check in and make sure that we don't lose track of what Eden really represents.

Eden in action

Every day our team of dedicated nursing and clinical staff, leisure and lifestyle coordinators, allied health professionals and chefs, all work together to provide a person-centred care environment. Some examples include:

  • Pets greeting you when you arrive at our aged care communities.
  • Residents are encouraged, where possible, to grow and tend to their own gardens and pot plants.
  • Asking residents for their opinion on decisions such as paint choices and artwork selections for common areas
  • Each aged care community is a vibrant hub of activity with on-site cafes, outdoor entertaining spaces, children's playgrounds and hairdressing services.
  • Giving residents a place on recruitment selection panels.  



Supporting you at every stage

Our team is here to guide you and your family through your choices, explain fees, and answer any questions you may have. Contact our friendly Residential Admissions Coordinators today.

Book a FREE consultation with our admissions team today

We know the path into residential aged care can be emotional and confusing, and our team is here to support you. Please call us on 1800 448 448 or complete this form.
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Retiree reading in one of our residential aged care communities in Brisbane