Clare Wallace, Dementia Support Consultant

Emmaus Village is founded upon the Social Model of care. This person-centred approach shows that quality of life is enhanced through the way people with dementia are supported, and through their built and social environment. By learning about each person with dementia as an individual, with his or her own history and background, care and support can be designed to be more appropriate to the needs of the individual. The role of Dementia Support Consultant unlocks our world-leading style of living at Emmaus Village.    

What did your journey to working at Emmaus Village look like? 

I recently moved to Port Macquarie with my family from Edinburgh in the UK (I am still getting used to waking up every morning and it being warm and sunny!).

I studied and trained at Edinburgh Napier University where I graduated with a distinction in Mental Health Nursing. I started work on the wards and then found my way to community nursing. Initially I worked at the memory clinic where I became skilled in diagnostic tools and working with people at the early stage of their diagnosis. I then moved to working within a person’s home. This involved supporting people and their families across the many stages of dementia as well as assessing risk and respond to crises as they evolved. 

My career has deepened my passion for working with people who have a diagnosis of dementia, as well as supporting families through building a better understanding of dementia, helping them find effective ways to support their loved one at home.

I completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Health and Wellbeing of the Older Person from the University of Stirling in 2018 and recently completed specialist study through NHS Education for Scotland, gaining qualification as a Dementia Specialist Improvement Lead. My focus through this was change management and delivering training to help staff feel more confident about nursing people with dementia in a range of health settings. I have also provided dementia-specific training and education to carers and relatives supporting a loved one with dementia through charity work and have sat on government meetings with the remit to implement government targets for Post Diagnostic Support.

What does your role as Dementia Support Consultant involve? 

As the Dementia Support Consultant, I am responsible for providing dementia-specific support to our Villagers, their families, and our staff. I will be involved with Villagers families from the initial conversation we have during the admission process, guiding them through the transition to Emmaus Village, and continuing to provide dementia-specific care and support once they are living in the Village. I am also responsible for providing ongoing education to our staff to ensure we provide the most current, evidence-based, and highest quality standard of care to those living with dementia. I will always be around to answer any questions, queries or concerns people might have. 

What excites you most about Emmaus Village? 

Where do I start?! I have always felt frustrated by the current systems in place to provide supported accommodation for people with dementia as despite best efforts, traditional solutions never end up feeling like a person’s home. At Emmaus Village, we have an opportunity to do things differently; to be in tune with a person’s needs, wants, and their own individual rhythm of the day. I am so excited to have the chance to champion this innovative approach and to actively support our Villager’s families and friends to get involved with their loved one – as their loved one – instead of their carer. At Emmaus Village, family and friends of our Villagers are integral members of our close-knit community.

Tell us something we don’t know about you!

I have a talent for spotting celebrities! It’s not unusual for my poor husband to see me jumping up and down with excitement whilst also trying to play it cool. For example, on a recent trip to Coffs Harbour, we had a celebrity sitting at the next table from us, so it seems my talents have travelled with me all the way from the UK!