Rosalie Nursing Care Centre: a specialist nursing home for women
As a unique, ladies-only nursing home, Alzheimer’s Queensland’s Rosalie Nursing Care Centre (RNCC) sits in the beautiful leafy surrounds of Rosalie, a neighbourhood within picturesque Paddington in Brisbane.
Home to 40 ladies aged between 60 and 105 and with varying complex needs, RNCC provides a safe and cosy environment to the women that come through its doors.
With almost 50 employees including registered nurses, physiotherapists and leisure and lifestyle staff, the women are well cared for here. Award-winning home-cooked meals, pretty landscaped gardens and a large lounge for socialising all help to give Rosalie that sense of home that’s key to helping its residents feel comfortable.
Suitability and level of care
Rosalie has no age limit and welcomes hearing from women (and their families) once an ACAT (a free assessment from an Aged Care Assessment Team) has been carried out. “We then assess the ladies when their application comes through and make a decision on whether they’re well-suited to Rosalie,” explains Deepa Gurung, Clinical Nurse at RNCC.
“All the women here are high care,” explains Marion Gill, Director of Care at RNCC. “Usually their cognition is reasonably impaired, or can be very impaired - or they’re physically really unwell and their cognition is a bit affected too.”
“For the majority of women, once they’re here, they’re here for the rest of their lives,” adds Deepa. “They all vary; we have a lady who’s been here for over 14 years. Others are here for just a year or two.”
Family and carers
“When most people come here, they’ve previously been at home and their families have been managing there,” says Marion. “It’s usually a medical crisis that brings them over the edge – they just can’t manage anymore at home.” For example, says Marion, “Sometimes they’ve had a fall and they’re disorientated, or they have a broken leg or fractured femur. Other times it’s because of a urinary tract infection.” Occasionally the carers become too exhausted and can’t manage anymore. When they come to RNCC, “the families need a lot of looking after as well as the residents,” says Marion. “They’ve been through a really hard and harrowing time with their loved ones for quite a long time.”
“For many of the ladies here, their husbands have been their carers,” says Marion. “When they get here, they find other husbands who’ve been through exactly the same journey so they all chat and look after each other when someone new comes in.”
A safe environment
“As a women’s-only facility, family members feel safer having their loved ones here, as mixed care facilities can bring up conflicts,” explains Deepa. “Often husbands are happy that their wives are somewhere where there won’t be any male aggression,” adds Marion. “They also have a lot of confidence in the care given here. All our staff are specially trained for caring for people with dementia.” Thanks to this, they can handle the more challenging dementia-related behaviours that people may have.
“All our rooms are twin share too. Mostly, the ladies are quite happy to share with someone,” says Marion. “Often they find it’s reassuring to have a friend in the bedroom with them so they don’t feel lonely,” adds Deepa.
Programs and activities
“For all new residents, we do a pre-admission interview with the family so we know what their likes and dislikes are, their hobbies, their background - and we use that to create a lifestyle profile so that they can do things here at Rosalie that they like or have liked in the past – it’s very personalised,” explains Deepa. “Some people have common hobbies like music, so we bring them together for activities. If they don’t like some of the daily activities we run, we don’t force them into it – we only encourage,” she adds.
“Our most popular program is music therapy- and we actually have a choir here,” says Marion. “Most of the ladies love and respond really well to music and we have an exceptionally good music therapist. Quite a few of our ladies can’t communicate very well anymore so although they can’t talk, we give them 1-1 time as they like to have someone there to hold their hand whilst they listen to music that they enjoy.”
“Our art program is also really good and the ladies really enjoy that,” says Marion. “No-one’s produced a masterpiece yet but they have a lovely time while they’re there! We also have an exercise program and do gardening. Every morning they read the newspapers too, catching up on current affairs and reminiscing – everyone can go right off track chatting about different things, but they enjoy it.” The ladies also like coming together to play scrabble and bingo or do quizzes. “There’s entertainers who come to do concerts as well,” says Deepa. “The ladies love that – a bit of singing and dancing. It’s fun and quite involved here.”
Learn more about the Rosalie Nursing Care Centre or if you’d like support or further information about dementia, please call our 24-hour Advice Line on 1800 639 331.
Words: Ash Anand