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Ozcare, Toowoomba
Ozcare, Toowoomba

New Ozcare facility shows clever design and special touches

NEW dementia care residents arriving at Toowoomba's Ozcare aged care facility will be greeted with some of the comforts of home.

Colourful, hand-crafted local quilts will be laid out on the beds at the new 150-bed facility which opened on April 8.

It's a new approach by designers as the demand for residential aged care shifts towards more privacy and staying connected.

Ozcare's head of aged care Lanna Ramsay said a collection of 30 quilts, created by the Toowoomba's Quilters Club, would be used to help those residents with memory loss to easily identify their rooms at the facility.

"Making the transition into aged care can be a daunting experience for people living with memory loss and we aim to make that move as seamless as possible for them in the beginning," Ms Ramsay said.

"It is often items like quilts that can conjure up some nostalgia for our residents and that can really give them that sense of home straight away.

"Our staff are focused on providing lots of reassurances, kindness and love, but having each bed decorated with beautiful quilts in the dementia wing has provided the facility with a real sense of home."

Toowoomba Quilters Club community quilting co-ordinator Fay Suley said she was inspired to help people living with dementia through the donation of quilts after her own husband spent his final months in aged care in 2011.

"My husband passed away in 2011 and his last 16 weeks was spent in care and I could see how much having a quilt helped him to find his room easily," Mrs Suley said.

"I made the quilt from fabric that came from my late mother.

"We do get a bit sentimental about our quilts."

Each quilt has taken 10 hours to construct with many of the 43-year-old club's 130 members, including a male cotton farmer, helping to complete the latest project.

Some of the other features at the facility which are designed to help bring people out of their rooms are intimate private lounges and dining areas for residents to entertain family and friends, extensive grounds and gardens with walking paths and seating, a coffee shop open to the public, a children's playground, and putt putt and lawn bowls for family and friends and to bring the wider community into the facility.

The unique design features of the Toowoomba facility include softly curved corridors that are more homely and private, warmer colour palettes in the interiors, interior design to help people living with dementia and those with vision impairment including way-finding fabrics and artwork at lift areas and nurses stations, furniture in seating that is a different colour to help people identify seats, neutral floor colours when surface materials change to ensure flow, and patterned furniture so it can be easily identified in contrast to floor colour.

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