A ‘geriatric flying squad’, a charity helping older homeless people and a care manager have all scooped top honours at a national aged care awards.
The three awards were handed out at the HESTA Aged Care Awards in Canberra on Thursday night.
They went to a team from Uniting War Memorial Hospital in Sydney’s Waverly which has designed a referral system to reduce the unnecessary hospitalisation of older patients, Victorian not-for-profit Wintringham which supports older Australians experiencing homelessness and aged care manager Yulunda Matau from Amana Living’s James Brown Care Centre in Perth.
The winners were selected from 13 national finalists and were recognised for their contribution to improving the quality of life for older Australians across three Award categories —Team Innovation, Outstanding Organisation and Individual Distinction.
Flying squad to the rescue
The Geriatric Flying Squad (GFS) at Uniting War Memorial Hospital was awarded the Team Innovation Award for designing a referral system for NSW emergency services reducing unnecessary hospitalisations of older patients.
Implemented and designed with the Ambulance Service of NSW and NSW Police, the referral pathway provides paramedics with an alternative option to hospital admission.
Diane Gellatly, Clinical Nurse Consultant and Geriatric Flying Squad (GFS) team member said the system better utilises existing emergency services, resulting in more suitable patient care.
“Older people are too frequently forgotten or disadvantaged by an increasingly complex health care system,” said Diane.
“We saw that we could better use existing services to meet the needs of the frail and vulnerable in our community”.
Patients meeting select criteria are referred by paramedics and police to the GFS who then treat and assess patients in their homes.
Stamping out aged homelessness
Victorian organisation Wintringham took home the Outstanding Organisation Award for its contribution to the social justice of ageing Australians experiencing homelessness, through community outreach, housing support, aged care and referral services.
For 30 years Wintringham has worked to stamp out homelessness among ageing Australians, growing to become the country’s largest specialist not-for-profit aged care service, supporting over 2000 vulnerable people every night.
Wintringham chief executive and founder Bryan Lipmann said the award is recognition of the organisation’s hard work and of the inspirational staff efforts over the years to help older Australians in need.
“It’s greatly rewarding to provide a permanent pathway out of homelessness for elderly disadvantaged men and women,” said Mr Lipmann.
“By providing safe, secure and supported accommodation options, we deliver a ‘home until stumps’ approach allowing our residents and clients to enjoy an independent and dignified life.”
Residents ‘have a name, not a room number’
Yulunda Matau, service manager at Amana Living’s residential aged care home James Brown Care Centre, was winner of the Individual Distinction Award.
The home as a high proportion of residents who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and Yulunda was behind programs aimed at improving resident care outcomes and employee engagement.
Her initiatives included the introduction of a rostering system so staff are consistently caring for the same residents and employing palliative care specialists.
“Introducing a dedicated staffing model and seeing the difference it makes to both the residents and staff at the facility has been a truly enjoyable experience. The residents have a name now, not just a room number or a diagnosis,” said Yulunda.
“Turning someone’s life around to give them meaning and purpose and seeing them become the best they can be, brings a smile to my face every day.”
HESTA chief executive Debby Blakey said the three winners showcase the exceptional work undertaken in the sector to improve services and standards of care for ageing Australians.
“This year’s winners have shown outstanding leadership and have worked collaboratively to design and implement improvements in their workplaces, delivering the highest quality care to ageing Australians,” Ms Blakey said.
The winner of each category won a share in a $30,000 prize pool.