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Dementia Australia has launched a new app, called Ask Annie, which offers short, self-paced learning modules to help care workers refresh their skills and learn tips and tools to provide better care to people living with dementia.

Ask Annie is now available for individual download with three introductory modules gifted to support the aged care sector.

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‘Annie’ is a virtual care worker providing support to a person living with dementia. She guides users through a range of scenarios to strengthen their dementia care skills.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM said Ask Annie was designed in collaboration with care workers and improves quality of care for people living with dementia by improving the skills of those caring for them.

“In support of the aged care sector, we are gifting the first three introductory modules, including 22 lessons, in appreciation for everything they have done for our most vulnerable Australians including managing workforce issues during an incredibly challenging time”, Ms McCabe said in an official statement.

“With almost half a million Australians living with dementia – which is projected to increase to 1.1 million people by 2058 – our community needs a greater focus on quality dementia care continued training and support for the Aged Care workforce.”

Ask Annie was developed by Dementia Australia with Deakin University's Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2) through the ARC Research Hub for Digital Enhanced Living, thanks to the generous support of Gandel Foundation.

Gandel Foundation CEO Vedran Drakulic OAM said Ask Annie showcases how technology can be applied to improve dementia education and aged care in Australia. 

“Ask Annie provides workers in the aged care industry with the opportunity to receive dementia-specific training that is practical, accessible and flexible enough to fit into their demanding days,” Mr Drakulic said.

“The vision for Ask Annie was to create a unique and immersive learning experience that directly leads to learning outcomes that can be translated into everyday practice. 

“Gandel Foundation is proud to partner with Dementia Australia to launch Ask Annie, and to further develop online learning experiences that lead to better care for people living with dementia."  

Blue Cross has purchased Ask Annie for around 150 staff members.

Blue Cross Nursing Services and Workforce Manager Jacqui Simao said, “We provide ongoing training for our workforce, but something like Ask Annie is available 24/7 so you can refer to the app to get the tips that you need, right there in the moment, on your device.

“The Ask Annie app is very relevant to the particular care we’re delivering here in Australia.” 

Ask Annie can be downloaded individually via the Google Play Store or Apple App Store to access the first three modules.

For more Ask Annie information, visit www.dementialearning.org.au/askannie

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Charlotte Mitchell

Charlotte is a published journalist and editor, with 10 years of experience in developing high-quality content for national and international publications.

With an academic background in both science and communications, she specialises in medical and science writing. Charlotte is passionate about creating engaging, evidence-based content that equips the community with important information on issues around healthcare, medicine and research.

Over the years, she has partnered with organisations including the Medical Journal of Australia, Cancer Council NSW, Bupa, the Australasian Medical Publishing Company, Dementia Australia, MDA National, pharmaceutical companies, and state and federal government agencies, to produce high-impact news and clinical content  for different audiences.