A culture change in aged care: the Eden alternative(TM)

Document Type


Publication details

Brownie, S. 2011, 'A culture change in aged care: the Eden alternative(TM)', The Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 63-68.

Article available on Open Access

Peer Reviewed




The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the values that The Eden AlternativeTM represents. The benefits, challenges and potential risks, associated with implementing this model for culture change will also be discussed.


Currently, 36 residential aged care facilities in Australia and New Zealand have implemented The Eden AlternativeTM. Alzheimer’s Australia has recently adopted The Eden AlternativeTM in two Western Australia respite centres to advance care practices.

Primary argument

The Eden AlternativeTM is a model for culture change in aged care that aims to enrich the lives of all who live and work in residential aged care facilities. Children, animals and plants enliven the environment and create an atmosphere reminiscent of home. The Eden AlternativeTM promotes human growth in aged care environments and strives to empower and enable older people to fulfil their right to construct and pursue meaningful lives.


In the United States of America (USA), The Eden AlternativeTM is associated with numerous benefits, including reductions in the total number and type of medications used by residents, (i.e. a decline in mind and mood‑altering drugs); reduced infection rates among residents; improved levels of sociability among residents; reduced levels of boredom and feelings of helplessness among residents, and improved staff retention rates. However, these findings need to be interpreted cautiously due to lack of information about, and limitations in, study designs. Further research is needed in Australia to establish the impact of this model for culture change on residents and nurses who live and work in these facilities.

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