Better Practice Award winners 2011

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Health and personal care

Award winner:Highercombe, ACH Group
Program: Active living for healthy ageing: the cornerstone in an ecological health promotion framework for aged care
State:South Australia

Highercombe, ACH Group

The art of ageing

The art of ageing well is earnestly pursued by staff and residents at Highercombe. Health promotion at Highercombe is about living and working in ways to guard the long term health and wellbeing of staff and residents.

The residents who come to live at Highercombe do so with the understanding that the home's key philosophy is about achieving optimal wellbeing.

The Partners in Positive Ageing (PiPA) model of wellbeing is a planned, strategic and integrated endeavour to lift the bar on active living in residential aged care.

Six ‘key understandings’ make up the PiPA model. They are active living, lifelong education, ‘noticing, savouring, engaging’, ‘valued roles and relationships’, ‘strong voice’ and ‘positive emotion’.

The model involves supporting residents through information and education to make informed decisions, implementing tailored programs for individual residents, supporting behaviour change through ‘strength-spotting’ and the promotion of physical activity.

Highercombe’s extensive exercise program includes ‘easymoves and balance classes’, gym sessions, walking, swimming, golf, carpet bowls and tennis.
Award winner:Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre
Program:Infection control awareness week

Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre

Infectious enthusiasm

Infection control fever is the only bug going around Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre these days since their infection control awareness campaign was launched in 2008.

A meticulously planned Infection control awareness week in November 2008 was the springboard for the home’s invigorated program. Infection control awareness week consisted of a schedule of memorable activities devoted entirely to the promotion of infection control.

Posters, stickers and T-shirts and were used to promote infection control during the campaign. Yellow became the theme colour for the week and to this day, yellow is the recognised colour of infection control in the home.

Staff, residents and visitors took part in education sessions. The activity program included hand-washing events and ‘germ busting’ word hunts. Even the resident poet laureate put pen to paper for the occasion.

The home’s infection control program has continued to evolve and improve since the awareness week in 2008 and has resulted in improved practices among staff, residents and visitors and lower levels of infections in the home.
Award winner:Hall & Prior – Caroline Chisholm Nursing Home and Sirius Cove Nursing Home
Program:Pain management program
State:New South Wales

Hall & Prior – Caroline Chisholm Nursing Home and Sirius Cove Nursing Home

No pain a gain

Gains in pain management have been attained at Caroline Chisholm and Sirius Cove Nursing homes through a comprehensive program squarely focused on the management of pain.

The results have been extraordinary. Within one year of implementing the pain management program, 100 per cent of residents became involved. Six months after entering the program, more than half of the residents experienced improved pain ratings and 30 per cent had unchanged pain levels despite 46 per cent experiencing significant natural progression of diagnosed disease.

Beginning in 2010, the program involved initial development and delivery of training for staff in the form of self-directed learning packages, tool box training sessions, posters and guest speakers. Existing resident review processes were adapted to ensure a comprehensive approach and GPs, the physiotherapist and residents’ family were involved.

The program includes pain management briefings at every handover, ‘tapping touch’ therapy, music therapy, and an exercise program.
Award winner:St Catherine's Aged Care, Catholic Healthcare Ltd
Program:St Catherine’s pain management program
State:New South Wales

St Catherine's Aged Care, Catholic Healthcare Ltd

Painless approach to improvement

Plan, do, study act – the quality improvement principles that allowed St Catherine’s to do pain management better.

Beginning in 2010, the planning phase involved identifying best practice, developing tools to measure improvement and designing an education program to improve knowledge and engage staff in pain management principles.

The ‘doing’ phase consisted of collecting baseline data to assess pain management documentation and assessing staff knowledge through a questionnaire. Six separate education sessions were delivered to staff.

Staff knowledge was again assessed and an audit of pain management documentation was undertaken during the ‘study’ phase.

And the ‘act’ phase continues. A review of the staff knowledge questionnaire and documentation has provided information about how the program can be improved and the education session has been adapted for orientation of new staff.

The outcomes of the project are a significant improvement in staff knowledge and staff engagement in relation to pain management and an overall improvement in pain management documentation.

Resident lifestyle

Award winner:Emmy Monash Aged Care
Program:Life enrichment

Emmy Monash Aged Care

The rhythm of life

Residents and staff at Emmy Monash move to the beat of a different drum since they implemented their Life Enrichment program in 2008.

The Life Enrichment program is about promoting self-confidence, self-esteem and a sense of purpose among those who live and work at the home. It is about creating meaningful social interaction, emotional and spiritual stability, connections with the outside world and intergenerational friendships.

The program features a drama club that meets weekly, photography workshops and therapeutic drumming circles. The program also includes an inter-generational community choir which has been transformative in terms of the quality of life outcomes for participants and the Emmy Monash community as a whole.

A ‘relaxation and inner health group’ combines elements of stretching, breathing, meditation and reiki massage. The ‘sensory enrichment group’ for residents with high care needs provides a sensory, relaxation experience.

‘Until the last breath’, the home’s complementary palliative care program, responds to the changing needs of people as they reach the end stage of life.
Award winner:Anam Cara
Program:The inside out challenge

Anam Cara

The gift that keeps on giving

It is not just the carers who care at Anam Cara, where care giving is considered essential for feelings of fulfilment, self-worth and empowerment. The Inside Out Challenge is founded on the Eden principle that it is the balance of giving care and receiving care that gives life meaning. This initiative gives residents the opportunity to give care as well as receive care, and recognises the care given by residents. In 2008, following education sessions about the Eden philosophy, the Inside Out Challenge was presented to community members, and residents were invited to nominate: "Instead of looking in on yourself - Accept the challenge! Look out to others - give, share and make a difference in your Anam Cara community." The Inside Out Challenge captures those acts that may pass by unnoticed, creating something tangible and visible. Residents who "accept the challenge" receive a certificate thanking them for their contribution to the community. They are also acknowledged within the community, in other visible ways, including notice boards and the newsletter.
Award winner:SummitCare Sugarloaf Gardens
Program:Aboriginal dot painting
State:New South Wales

SummitCare Sugarloaf Gardens

Discovering art and making masterpieces

The residents at Sugarloaf are discovering their inner artists through the medium of Aboriginal dot painting.

The passion for Aboriginal dot painting was sparked during a workshop run by artists of Red Ochre Aboriginal Art in May 2010. A Sugarloaf staff member was so inspired by the workshop, she enrolled in art classes with Red Ochre and now brings her newfound skills and passion to the residents at Sugarloaf through weekly dot painting classes.

Since classes began, residents have been experimenting with different materials and mediums to pursue their painting. From paper to canvas to stones and other artefacts residents are pursuing personal and group art projects with vigour.

The classes have brought great pleasure to those involved, class sizes have grown and there has been an increase in self-confidence, health outcomes and general wellbeing for participants.

Sugarloaf’s art gallery event was a source of enormous pride for the resident artists who had an opportunity to display their work.
Award winner:UnitingCare Ageing, Western Region, Edinglassie Village
Program:Art from the heart – Edinglassie Village art project
State:New South Wales

UnitingCare Ageing, Western Region, Edinglassie Village

An artist’s life

If you arrive at Edinglassie Village to the faint whiff of oil on canvas, the low hum of industry and a gentle calm throughout the home it is probably because an art class is in session and creativity is in the air.

The Art from the Heart program is run by dedicated staff and volunteers from the Nepean Art Society, this program offers opportunities for residents to engage in the visual arts through personal practice and art tutorials given by local artists.

The calming and creative environment that the visual art class provides has become a positive and important part of residents’ lives at Edinglassie Village. The number of residents participating in the program has increased from 12 to 18 since it began and feedback from participants, family and staff highlights the success of the program in improving residents’ emotional wellbeing and sense of worth.

An art exhibition of residents’ artwork was a highlight for the Edinglassie community and provided a special opportunity to bring together the home’s art and music therapy participants.
Award winner:Carrington Centennial Care
Program:Carrington Care forms a healthy community partnership
State:New South Wales

Carrington Centennial Care

An exercise in positive partnerships

Residents have a newfound kick in their step since fitness course TAFE students started coming to Carrington Centennial Care to help with the weekly exercise program.

Carrington Care has teamed up with Macquarie Fields TAFE to collaborate on a resident health and fitness initiative.

TAFE students studying Certificate III, IV and Diploma in Fitness courses do their work experience at Carrington on a weekly basis. The teachers and students work with the Carrington Lifestyle and Leisure team to design one-on-one programs and group exercise programs that benefit residents.

On any given week, about 45 students deliver the structured and tailored programs ensuring residents receive a personalised experience.

The program is the result of a successful community partnership between Carrington Centennial Care and Macquarie Fields TAFE that benefits residents, students and staff. It has improved the overall health and wellbeing of residents, decreased the number of falls, and promoted meaningful interactions between the old and the young in the Camden community.
Award winner:Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home
Program:Celebrate the magic of volunteering
State:New South Wales

Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home

Truly invaluable

The Volunteer recruitment, retention and recognition program is a vital component of Montefiore’s successful community engagement strategy, which identifies the need for dynamic and professional volunteer management, communications and relationship building. This development program now sees Montefiore welcome over 535 active Volunteers through its doors on a regular basis to help support over 170 Resident-related programs and initiatives.

Montefiore is home to many Residents who may be Holocaust Survivors, immigrants or frail elderly without family contact, all of who could benefit from additional support through an extended Volunteer program. By committing additional resources to ensure coverage and participation at all our campuses, Volunteer contributions have continued to increase each year and in 2010 alone, volunteers contributed over 33,000 hours of service.

Each volunteer is specifically selected to suit the needs of our Residents and are recruited and recognised through participation in orientation programs and training workshops. Some of the activities in which volunteers are involved include; art, computers, bridge, library, music, exercises, manicures, men’s group, travel group and Sunday concerts.
Award winner:Baptcare Strathalan Community
Program:Improving resident engagement using ventriloquist puppet dolls in music therapy programs

Baptcare Strathalan Community

A special doll with a special role

Ventriloquist dolls have long been a source of entertainment and enjoyment for audiences around the world so it should not be a surprise to see a ventriloquist doll engaging audiences like never before at Strathalan.

The residents’ reaction to Gerry Gee, a ventriloquist puppet, got Strathalan’s music therapist thinking. He incorporated ventriloquist puppetry into the music program and found residents were fascinated by the doll. People who rarely spoke were interacting and talking with the doll.

There was no doubt that the doll was good therapy but how could its therapeutic value be proved? With advice from NARI (National Ageing and Research Institute), assessment tools were designed to measure engagement, connectivity and social wellbeing. The assessments measured responses such as facial expressions, interactions and eye contact and were used in three different scenarios to compare interaction with and without the ventriloquist doll.

Use of the ventriloquist doll during music therapy was found to increase positive engagement by 28 per cent proving the program promotes engagement, connection and conversation among residents.
Award winner:Anglican Care
Program:Memory magic
State:New South Wales

Anglican Care

Better practice through board games

“The more things change the more things stay the….”, “the opposite of poor is …”, “you wear makeup on your…” If you can finish these sentences you might do well at the game that is proving to be great therapy for residents at Anglican Care.

Inspired by her studies, Anglican Care’s Lifestyle and Wellbeing Coordinator went looking for a recreational program that would promote communication, increase social interaction and add meaning and variety to the lifestyle program.

Research led to Creative Action’s Memory Magic, a therapeutic board game that uses general knowledge to promote reminiscence and stimulate conversation among people with cognitive difficulties such as dementia related illnesses.

An assessment of the therapeutic value of the game was undertaken by Anglican Care in partnership with Monash University and the Business, Work & Ageing Centre for Research at Swinburne University. The results proved the game increases social engagement and decreases non-social behaviour.
Award winner:IRT Dalmeny
Program:My story matters
State:New South Wales

IRT Dalmeny

A time to reflect

Residents are given the time and space to reflect on their lives and tell their stories through the rich and rewarding My Story Matters program.

My Story Matters was introduced to prevent and manage depression and anxiety among older people who live at IRT Dalmeny.

Based on the ‘life review’ principal, My Story Matters provides residents with an opportunity to reflect on their past and represent it through digital biographies, slides, written narratives, artefacts and pictures. Residents work with a volunteer who is trained in interview techniques, active listening, reminiscence and digital storytelling to share their story and represent it through visual displays or presentations.

The program has reaped rewards for residents, families, staff and volunteers. Residents who have been involved in the program are more socially engaged, have improved cognitive functioning and are sleeping better at night. Feedback from families highlights the benefits of the program for reducing episodes of anxiety and depression and a general improvement in wellbeing. “My Story Matters” is now being introduced throughout other IRT Care Centres.
Award winner:Principal Shoalhaven
Program:Namaste care group
State:New South Wales

Principal Shoalhaven

Honouring the spirit

‘Namaste’ means “to honour the spirit within”. The Namaste Care Program for people with severe and end stage dementia focuses on the person, rather than the disease.

Developed by Associate Professor Joyce Simard from the University of Western Sydney, the program uses an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals, family and friends to provide a holistic approach to care.

The program aims to give comfort and pleasure during the end stages of dementia, surrounded by people who care. Medical interventions are measured and balanced to support quality of life for the person receiving care.

Education was provided to staff who wanted to be involved and information is provided to families. Testimonials from residents’ families and staff show how profoundly beneficial the program has been for those involved.

A family member’s testimonial talks about the marked changes in manner, cognitive functioning, appetite and skin condition for their loved one since starting the program.

Staff comment on the program’s calming and soothing effect on residents that previously showed regular signs of distress.
Award winner:Baptcare Hedley Sutton Community
Program:Schools community service program

Baptcare Hedley Sutton Community

Rethinking school daze

The schools program wasn’t doing much for anyone - not the residents, the students, nor the teachers nor the staff. There had to be a better way.

After years of watching school students traipse in and out of the home, often unsupervised, looking awkward and clearly unprepared, the team at Hedley Sutton Community decided to take matters into their own hands.

Residents were consulted about what they wanted from the program and their feedback resulted in a complete overhaul of the program. Ground rules were set for schools who wanted to maintain their involvement with the home and the activities program was specifically revamped to get the best out of the students and residents during student visits.

The program is now a vast improvement on what it used to be. As part of the deal with the schools, students are arriving better prepared for understanding and interrelating with residents at Hedley Sutton. Residents are also much more engaged now they have a better understanding of how they are contributing to the learning of the students. Students and residents interrelate through discussions, board games, electronic games and indoor sports. The new program has meant genuine and meaningful interaction is occurring between the two groups.
Award winner:BlueCross Community and Residential Services
Program:STARFish extravaganza

BlueCross Community and Residential Services

The greatest show in town

Choose your attitude! Make their day! Have fun! This is the inspiration for the greatest show in town.

As part of the United Nations International Day of the Older Person, Blue Cross hosts a STARFish extravaganza in October each year.

The program aims to bring joy to the lives of the Blue Cross Community. It creates a buzz of excitement as the big day approaches.

Planning starts in February. Residents create a performance based on the event’s theme. Costumes are created, songs are written, and table decorations are made. Everyone who wants to be is involved.

It is competitive too. Performances are recorded and sent to a central panel of judges. Regional heats are held before the event. Heat recordings are played on the big screen and the winner performs at the big event.

Last year over 500 people attended the extravaganza at the Melbourne Tennis Centre. It is the highlight of the calendar year, bringing residents, families and staff together for the sheer fun of it.
Award winner:Garden Suburb Nursing Home
Program:The KIM program (‘Keep it moving’ and ‘Kids in motion’)
State:New South Wales

Garden Suburb Nursing Home

Fitness, fun and fulfilment

‘Activities in progress do not disturb’. Exercises are seriously enjoyed at Garden Suburb Nursing Home and disruptions or distractions are not welcome.

It wasn’t always this way though. Before January 2009, group exercises were all but abandoned due to lack of interest. But the ‘fun after-breakfast exercise program’, later called the Keep it moving (KIM) program, changed all that. Promoted as a fun and fitness program to start the day, it filled the lull between breakfast and the beginning of the day’s activity program. And word began to spread.

The program’s success can be measured by its popularity and the health benefits for particpants. The program is specifically designed for participants and evolves according to their needs and wants.

The KIM program has since been extended to include Garden Suburb primary school (the ‘Kids in motion’ program). The children are a source of great pleasure during their visits, making it much more than just about exercises. The KIM program has enriched the Garden Suburb community - young and old.
Award winner:Charles Chambers Court
Program:Trip around the world
State:New South Wales

Charles Chambers Court

There’s no place like home

Nestled among the high-rise cityscape of inner-city Sydney, Charles Chambers Court is a special place for the 60 people who call it home. For many of the residents this is the first real home they have had for years after long or intermittent periods of homelessness.

Even simple tasks such as shopping, eating out or making friends can challenge someone who has been isolated from mainstream community, employment and family for most of their lives. The home’s Trip around the world program fosters interaction, community and harmony. It is an audio-visual virtual trip which focuses each session on a country that one of the residents was born or lived.

The program brings back positive memories and allows residents to see their country of origin in detail, giving them an opportunity to reclaim their sense of identity and feel proud of their cultural heritage.

The activity has been successful in that it has encouraged positive interaction between the residents by promoting a calm and safe atmosphere in the home.
Award winner:Little Sisters of the Poor Glendalough Home
Program:Wedding belles at Glendalough
State:Western Australia

Little Sisters of the Poor Glendalough Home

Something old, something new

Everyone loves a Wedding, especially a royal Wedding! The marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton was an event that captured the world’s imagination and Glendalough was no exception.

The residents at Glendalough Home were abuzz with wedding fever from the moment the royal engagement was announced. So, the Glendalough Diversional Therapy team set to work to bring this momentous occasion to life at the home.

During the months prior to the wedding, activities centred on the wedding. Table decorations were created, hats decorated and bonbonnieres made for table settings.
Residents enjoyed sharing stories of their own weddings or weddings they had attended. A gallery of photographs emerged and was set up in the foyer, much to the excitement and interest of everyone.

A huge celebration was held on the day of the wedding, beginning with a fashion parade, wedding breakfast, entertainment and dancing. Live coverage of the wedding was screened while residents enjoyed high tea and a special evening supper in the Hall. It was a true fairy tale.
Award winner:Presbyterian Aged Care – Wollongong
Program:Wheelchair walks
State:New South Wales

Presbyterian Aged Care – Wollongong

Beside the seaside

The weekly wheelchair walking program has been running continuously for 13 years thanks to a dedicated group of six volunteers who make this experience a highlight for the residents of ‘Olunda’.

The wheelchair walks allow residents, staff and volunteers to take advantage of the home’s proximity to the beach and the beautiful parklands along the Wollongong coastline.

The recreational activities officer coordinates the program, making sure all residents get an opportunity to regularly participate. Morning tea is packed for residents and volunteers and the walk occurs each Tuesday, weather permitting.

The success and longevity of the program is not just due to the dedication of the volunteers but also the special qualities they bring to the program - the ability to communicate and empathise with the residents, ensuring these walks are a real quality experience.

The program enriches the lives of residents and is central to the home’s lifestyle program. The joy on the residents’ faces as they walk out through the gates each Tuesday says it all.

Staff development and retention

Award winner:Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre
Program:A palliative care staff support group

Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre

Sharing caring experiences

The four years since the palliative care staff support group began at Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre has made a world of difference to the care given to residents in their last stages of life, their loved ones and the staff who deliver this care.

The program was initiated to develop a palliative approach to care and to support caregivers in the home.

The support group meets one evening a month and includes all staff and volunteers who wish to take part. The meetings involve debriefing and counselling for members; a review of palliative care provided to residents; a review of policies and practices to support a palliative approach; and guest speakers on a variety of relevant topics.

The group provides an opportunity for staff to express their feelings of loss and be supported by peers. It has improved communication and staff relationships between all levels of the team and it allows for greater coordination of care for dying residents.
Award winner:Multicultural Aged Care Services
Program:Learning for life

Multicultural Aged Care Services

Supported to learn; prepared to care

A quest to enhance care through improving knowledge and skills at Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc (MACS) drives their staff development program.

MACS has developed a sustainable education and training program that is focused on improving services for residents & clients, that builds on individuals' expertise and engenders loyalty.

Cultural diversity among staff is fostered and valued at MACS and is an important part of the delivery of care to residents. CALD sensitive trainers assist making the program as accessible and non-threatening as possible, particularly for those with English as a second language.

Led by an experienced educator/trainer, the program is based on adult education principles. Staff expertise is valued, and staff determination to improve professionally drives the program. Assistance to complete forms; individual supportive counselling; individual/group tutorials; roster flexibility; management support; purchase of essential resources; and recognition of achievement are features of the program.

Over 130 qualifications have been achieved by the MACS team since 2006 and the program has contributed significantly to staff morale and staff retention.
Award winner:Stirling Aged Care
Program:Managing staff cultural diversity with a positive outcome
State:Western Australia

Stirling Aged Care

Stirling results for a cultural diversity program

If only you could bottle the culture of Stirling, the world would be a better place.

More than three-quarters of the staff at Stirling are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, mainly from Asian and African backgrounds. In contrast, the resident cultural and linguistic mix is predominantly Western, with English as the first language for 85 per cent of residents.

Stirling’s Managing staff cultural diversity program has shown that by creating a culture of tolerance, inclusiveness and acceptance, a well functioning team is producing quality care outcomes for residents.

The program has introduced a ‘Speaking English in the workplace’ policy; initial and ongoing communication to staff reinforcing an expectation of cultural inclusiveness; and an annual Cultural appreciation day. Staff have received education on English language in the Workplace, Elder abuse from a CALD perspective and effective communication for CALD workers in aged care.

Results have shown improvements in resident satisfaction, a reduction in staff turnover and increased feelings of goodwill, acceptance and interest among the Stirling community.
Award winner:Ave Maria Community Village
Program:Meaningful mentoring initiative

Ave Maria Community Village

A supportive start

By harnessing the know-how of experienced staff Ave Maria Community Village has improved the way new staff are orientated, trained and retained.

The meaningful mentoring program provides new staff with an orientation to the home that is more structured, paced and supportive. The program enlists enthusiastic and experienced staff to be mentors and work one-to-one with new staff to help them learn their jobs and the way the organisation works.

Mentors and mentees meet weekly during the first six weeks to review their learning and work towards the next milestone. The relationship continues over the next six months and beyond as the mentee works towards achieving competencies and becoming an experienced staff member in their own right.

New staff are not left floundering and they get a sense of achievement as they reach each milestone. Mentors gain an increased sense of self-worth and self-confidence as they see their mentees develop. Residents benefit from the increased skills and knowledge of staff, and the organisation benefits as staff are staying longer.
Award winner:SummitCare
Program:Staff development and retention initiative
State:New South Wales


Developing staff across the ages

From Gen X to Gen Y, the Baby boomers and beyond, generational and cultural differences of staff are recognised and catered for at SummitCare.

SummitCare’s Staff development and retention initiative is based on research about the aged care workforce; its multigenerational nature, cultural diversity, and skill shortages for certain roles. SummitCare has worked hard to overcome these challenges with some exciting results.

A staff database was developed to establish staff demographics including age, length of employment and qualifications. An analysis of complaints provided another key to understanding where education and training was needed most.

A workplace English Language and Literacy program incorporated basic computer skills, paving the way for e-learning programs and the development of a computerised staff communiqué system.

SummitCare have developed strategic partnerships with a range of education providers negotiating flexibility in delivery mode and therefore greater access to educational opportunities for all staff groups.

The results show increased and sustained employee satisfaction, reduced rates in staff turnover and a decrease in the number of complaints.
Award winner:Embleton Care Facility
Program:The development of video material to increase the retention of emergency procedures
State:Western Australia

Embleton Care Facility

A flaming good idea

Lights. Camera. Action. Fire and emergency training has never been so much fun at Embleton Care Facility.

Tired of the same repetitive and often-irrelevant fire and emergency evacuation training videos the team at Embleton had a burning desire to do something different. This sparked the idea to make their own, customised fire and emergency video.

Making the fire video provided a creative educational opportunity for staff to produce a relevant and engaging resource to use as part of the education program.

A committee of staff with representatives from each department planned and scripted the video based on policies and procedures. The scripts were reviewed and approved by the Fire and Emergency Services Authority.

All staff were encouraged to participate in the video which includes performances by staff and residents. Residents, staff, family and friends were invited to celebrate the first screening of the video on “World Premier Opening Day”.

Environmental management/living environment

Award winner:Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre
Program:Emergency evacuation initiatives

Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre

Prepared for anything

Queenslanders are coming to expect wild weather and unpredictable events as part of the sub-tropical climate in which they live but the team at Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre are truly prepared for anything.

Drawing on their own personal experiences and research about emergency situations, the team have thought of everything when it comes to their resident evacuation kit.

In late 2005 the home was plunged into darkness during what turned out to be a lengthy blackout. Since then, a ‘blackout box’ was created to assist in the case of a similar event occurring.

An emergency situation at another Blue Care home in 2009 caused them to further develop their evacuation kits in the case of an emergency that could see residents evacuated day or night from the home.

Staff workshops and brainstorming sessions focused on emergency preparations and resulted in an evacuation kit for all occasions. It includes resident evacuation badges, glow arm bands, disposable raincoats, sun hats, bottled water and thickener, and a comprehensive resident evacuation list.
Award winner:Trevu House Residential Aged Care
Program:Improving the living environment and wellbeing for people with dementia
State:South Australia

Trevu House Residential Aged Care

Wasteland to wonderland

The once-sparse and uninspiring central living area that was nothing more than a thoroughfare between bedrooms at Trevu House at Gawler East South Australia is now a space of wonder and whimsy for residents, visitors and staff.

The large unusual space in this heritage building includes six doorways, one stairwell and an upper staircase. Once just a thoroughfare, this space is now a focal point of the living environment being home to a post office, train station, lolly shop, men’s shed, picket-fenced garden, a chook shed and ‘magical trees’.

Detailed imagery has been integrated into each theme to draw on the residents’ memory and rekindle their life stories promoting wellbeing and reminiscence. An extensive music program has been developed to complement scenes with morning music from the 1920s to the 1960s and relaxing afternoon baroque music to calm and soothe.

The project was initiated by staff who attended training on supporting people with dementia and evolved over time as ideas stimulated new ideas among residents, staff and visitors.
Award winner:Parklands Residential Aged Care Facility
Program:Parklands multisensory environment

Parklands Residential Aged Care Facility

Sense appeal

Parklands appeals to the senses. It stimulates the senses while simulating home life and the environment has been meticulously planned to meet the individual needs of Parklands’ residents.

What is unique about Parklands multisensory environment is the evolution of the program and the way in which it can be tailored to meet the needs of each resident.

In 2005, Parklands’ Diversional Therapist began implementing the idea of a multisensory room by purchasing some mobile multisensory equipment which was used individually in residents’ room.

By 2009, a multisensory room was developed within the home to allow residents the choice to spend time and stimulate their senses in a quiet environment. The home also incorporates a range of sensory areas throughout the living area including a baby’s nursery, a beach, a vegetable garden, a men’s shed and a chicken coup that is home to four egg-laying chooks.

The multisensory program has been beneficial in mobility promotion, pain management, palliative care and behavioural management.
Award winner:The Whiddon Group, Largs
Program:Infection control implementation and prevention framework to improve service provision in residential aged care
State:New South Wales

The Whiddon Group, Largs

Infections in check

Infection rates are consistently low at The Whiddon Group, Largs due to the diligence and determination of staff to keep them that way.

The program's objective was to prevent and minimise the extent of outbreaks in aged care homes, optimise resident quality of life where infection is identified and decrease infection-related mortality.

These aims have been achieved through the development of in-house specialist infection control knowledge, partnerships with medical officers, the public health unit and the local Area Health Service, involvement of family and the broader community who have been involved in infection control awareness education and the implementation of a ‘traffic light system’ to alert staff to residents’ infection status.

Benchmarking results show the home’s strategies have had a positive effect on the prevention and treatment of infections. The number of infections is significantly lower than the average, staff absenteeism due to health care acquired infections is consistently low, staff knowledge on infection control is comparably high and there have been no outbreaks in the home since 2007.


Award winner:BlueCross Hansworth
Program:A gentle welcome – benefits of a transitional care coordinator

BlueCross Hansworth

A way to welcome

What a world of difference a warm welcome can make. Hansworth has found a better way to support residents and families make the adjustment from home to aged care.

The project began as a study to determine whether a dedicated transitional care planner could improve the way residents and their families experience the transition to residential aged care.

Hansworth’s Transitional Care Coordinator (TCC) role has been part of the home for over four years. Recruited from internal applicants, the TCC is engaged with residents and families to provide emotional, physical, social and spiritual support, particularly during their transition to life in residential aged care.

So successful has the TCC initiative been, that Blue Cross intends to extend the program across all of their sites. The feedback from residents, family members and staff has been continually positive in relation to the TCC and the significant reduction in the number of complaints received from residents and family members is, in a large part, attributed to the success of this program.
Award winner:Mercy Place Parkville
Program:Ageing abroad

Mercy Place Parkville

A world of difference

The Ageing Abroad program shows that a small local initiative can have global implications.

Driven by the organisation’s philosophy to foster cultural diversity and a harmonious work environment, the program encourages staff to visit aged care homes around the world whenever they travel overseas.

The program began in 2009 when a staff member had to return to their homeland at short notice. The staff member visited an aged care home in Nepal and shared their experiences on their return. It was such a positive experience that the idea took hold.

Since then, 26 staff members have visited 26 homes across 26 countries. Now staff members travelling overseas take Mercy Health ‘tote bags’ as gifts to the homes they visit. The bags include slide-sheets, caps and polo shirts, resident-made handcrafts and a personal letter to residents.

The program has enriched the Mercy Health community. Staff take great pride in their experience, there is a greater sense of purpose among the Mercy community and a collective desire to build global relationships.
Award winner:Anglican Care
Program:Cameos for empathy in dementia care
State:New South Wales

Anglican Care

A mile in their shoes

You cannot really know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes so the old proverb goes, and this is the basis for the ‘Cameo for empathy in dementia care’ program, an education program for residential and community carers of people with dementia.

Anglican Care developed an education program based on the ‘habilitation model’ to improve communication between carers and the people they care for. The ‘habilitation model’ aims to optimise function, minimise stress, promote positive emotions and maximise success for people living with dementia.

The education program incorporates the use of puppets, role playing and skits to provide carers with a greater understanding of the world that a person with dementia inhabits. It enables carers to better empathise with the people they care for, making their care partnering more effective and enriching.

Over 500 carers have participated in the program including staff, volunteers, family members, school students and carers in the wider community. The program has been positively and warmly received from those who have been involved.
Award winner:Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre
Program:Family support group

Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre

A family affair

Moving into an aged care home is one of life’s major events, not just for the person moving in, but for their family and friends as well.

The Family Support Group at Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre provides a supportive network for families to assist them continue to provide the support for their loved ones living at the home.

In 2007 feedback was sought from families about the format that a support group might take to best meet the needs of the Pinewoods community. Since this time the group has met regularly and has continued to evolve as new members come and go and as the needs of the members change.

Currently meeting bi-monthly, the Family Support Group provides an open and relaxed environment where families and friends can feel comfortable to share their fears and anxieties within a supportive framework. It includes informal chatter over morning tea, followed by interactive education sessions on various topics of interest and relevance to the members of the group.
Award winner:Highercombe, ACH Group
Program:Healthy ageing at work: how implementation of an ecological approach to ageing in aged care benefits workers
State:South Australia

Highercombe, ACH Group

Working life

The staff and residents at Highercombe embrace healthy ageing as a lifelong process. It is this philosophy that not only underpins the resident lifestyle program but is also foundational to the occupational health and safety program for staff.

While there is a strong emphasis on rehabilitation, restoration and recovery for residents, staff also plan for optimal health and wellbeing through work and in other spheres of their life.

The 'healthy ageing at work program'; is a holistic program for staff that includes a range of health promotion activities such as an annual health promotion education and training program, a reflective practice program, on-site massage for staff, annual flu vaccinations and blood pressure checks, exercise promotion with an onsite gym, reward and recognition programs for staff and an early intervention physiotherapy program for work and non-work related injuries.

Results show that the program is already having a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of staff with many reporting increased motivation and plans for personal improvement.
Award winner:Eldercare
Program:Management of bariatric residents
State:South Australia


The big issue

Size is no longer an issue at Eldercare, South Australia, where an innovative design has improved the way staff are able to provide care for larger residents.

A 2009 trend analysis showed an increasing number of residents coming to live at Eldercare were clinically defined as obese or bariatric. Bariatric residents are at higher risk of injury during mobilisation and have other clinical risks such as poor skin integrity and reduced mobility. There is also a higher risk of injury for staff when providing care to these residents.

An Eldercare physiotherapist worked with a manufacturer to design a heavy slide hoist sheet and high back sling to assist staff to roll the resident in bed during their personal care. Staff training was provided and feedback sought to measure the safety and effectiveness of the equipment.

The tool has reduced the requirement of staff to assist from five to two for heavier residents, reduced staff injuries and improved the level of comfort and safety for residents for whom the equipment is designed.
Award winner:The Whiddon Group, Kelso
Program:PenPals: an initiative in residential aged care to improve client satisfaction and community engagement
State:New South Wales

The Whiddon Group, Kelso

New life for a lost art

The dying art of letter writing is being revived at The Whiddon Group, Kelso where a group of residents pen letters to pen pals in Mount Isa, Darwin, Adelaide and the United Kingdom.

It all began one day back in 2007 when some of the residents were reminiscing about the joy of letter writing. Letter writing was a significant pastime for many of these people throughout their lives.

This discussion led to the idea of starting a pen pal program; an idea that was met with great enthusiasm.

Since 2007, more than 350 letters have been sent to residents in aged care homes across Australia and the UK. The PenPal group meets monthly and involves staff and residents working together to correspond with their new found pen pals across the world. The program has been an engaging process for those involved.

There has been a significant rise in resident satisfaction at The Whiddon Group, Kelso and this has been attributed to the success of the PenPal program.
Award winner:Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre
Program:Pinewoods school holiday program

Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre

Pinewoods' little darlings

The residents love it, the kids have a ball and the parents couldn't be happier. Everyone is a winner during school holidays at Blue Care Pinewoods Aged Care Centre where new friendships are forged and memories are made.

The program provides free supervised care for the school-aged children of staff during school holidays. The activities program is adjusted to involve the children as well as the residents. Activities such as craft, cooking, reading groups, ice cream parties, outdoor games, dress-up days, picnics and special events are incorporated into the schedule. Regular programmed activities such as bingo, quizzes and table games are modified to include the young people so the two generations can work and play together.

The program has been assessed annually since its inception in 2004. The results show residents and staff benefit from the program and want it to continue. One of the residents coined the phrase “Pinewoods’ little darlings” in a heartfelt poem he wrote to farewell the children on the last day of holidays.
Award winner:Macquarie Care Centre
Program:Sense of worth
State:New South Wales

Macquarie Care Centre

A life worth living

Vital changes have brought joy and purpose to residents at Macquarie Care Centre.

Previously, a task-oriented rather than person-centred approach was producing unsatisfying results for residents and staff.

The Sense of worth program has made all the difference. Simple, innovative and cost effective therapies, such as the instalment of a birdfeeder in the garden, the planting of colourful and fragrant flowers has added colour and life to outdoor spaces.

Purposeful activities such as watering the garden, peeling vegetables, feeding the chooks and arranging the flowers are now a significant part of the lifestyle program. A local fitness instructor delivers flexi-classes, a qualified staff member runs a daily art program and special menu celebrations have lifted the general mood of the home.

A focus on individuals is promoted through “a little about me” and “my favourite things” initiatives, giving staff a better understanding about the lives of the people they care for. Community involvement has extended to an 80-strong auxiliary and support from volunteers and businesses in the local area.
Award winner:Starrett Lodge
Program:The therapeutic garden and intergenerational program
State:New South Wales

Starrett Lodge

Garden of dreams

If you build it they will come. At least that's how it seemed at Starrett Lodge when a garden full of fascinations brought visitors in their droves.

Research shows that gardens and safe outdoor settings have a positive effect on people with dementia. The outdoor space created at Starrett Lodge is designed to promote mystery, fascination and delight. It has raised seating areas, a water feature, woodpile and axe, a fish tank, sun-shaded areas and a sensory garden.

The newly created area attracted more visits from families and friends to the home. The influx of visitors, particularly young visitors, prompted the idea of hosting a Mothers and Babies group.

Now, much to the delight of those involved, new mothers and their babies come to the home weekly to spend time with one another, the staff and residents.

The therapeutic garden project and spin-off intergenerational program have spread excitement throughout Starrett Lodge. The residents “come to life” when the babies arrive and the program has been transformative for all involved.
Award winner:BlueCross The Boulevard
Program:A dignified and hearty goodbye

BlueCross The Boulevard

Fitting tributes and fond farewells

Death is a time to celebrate the “gloriousness of the person” at BlueCross The Boulevard.

Previously, death was quietly endured to minimise upset among the residents, but research shows a minimalist approach to death can be detrimental to communities causing BlueCross to rethink how they support a resident’s end of life.

The Dignified and hearty goodbye program gives residents a dignified and meaningful send off. Residents and staff form a guard of honour as a resident leaves the home for the last time. Residents’ favourite songs, colours and flowers are included in end of life ceremonies. A photo of the resident and a memorial book is placed at reception for staff, residents and families to write in, and a monthly memorial service marks the passing of residents during this time.

Advanced care planning is encouraged so each person’s end of life wishes are known and can be carried out. Residents support the initiative because they see they will be treated with respect and dignity when their time comes, and they will not be forgotten.