MEET OUR 2019 WINNERS!
WINNER - COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT - FEROS CARE
HIGHLY COMMENDED - COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT - ADVANCE CARE PLANNING AUSTRALIA
WINNER - CONSUMER EXPERIENCE - CAREPAGE / ALLITY
Launched in 2014, CarePage is an aged-care-specific, data collection and analytics tool that was developed to equip aged care providers with tangible evidence of customer and employee experience.
With a network of 45 homes across the country, Allity made the decision to implement CarePage technology in a select number of homes in an attempt to better understand the needs of their consumers and staff to improve their operational processes.
A series of pilot programs that began in September 2018 have provided Allity Aged Care with information that has allowed the organisation to identify and assess operational deficiencies.
This has paved the way for the implementation of improvement plans that are based on fact and are currently having a positive impact on the lives of the people in their care.
How it came together
Allity realised that the only way they could uncover and implement ideas for improvement in its homes was through ongoing engagement with customers, families, employees, and referrers.
Currently, the approach taken to feedback by many providers is still reactive. They wait for consumers to provide feedback (often in the form of a complaint) and deal with problems as they arise. Others may operate systems that directly solicit feedback, such as a customer satisfaction survey, but often only on an annual basis.
In order to truly drive continuous improvement in aged care, Allity realised that it needed to shift from a reactive to a proactive approach. The CarePage platform provides factual, evidence-based insight into customer experience in real time. Data is collected and collated, and is accessible with the simple click of a button, giving providers the chance to identify and adapt to the changing environment within their workplace.
CarePage surveys are conducted online through the use of a handheld tablet or computer in the aged care environment, the results of which can be viewed in real-time on an online dashboard that can only be viewed by members of the organisation who have been granted access.
The dashboard provides organisations with detailed insight regarding their level of success on individual quality of life indicators according to the consumers that they care for, allowing users to better understand which workplace processes are in need of improvement.
Allity chose Templestowe Manor Aged Care as the test case for using CarePage technology.
After the completion of the initial training and onboarding process, the rollout of CarePage surveying began in the Templestowe home at the end of September 2018 and quickly provided an insight into consumer dissatisfaction regarding one of the key elements of the aged care experience.
Data that was compiled throughout late September and October found that only 68 per cent of residents in the Templestowe facility responded positively to the survey question “Do you like the food here?” which was both a shock and a cause for concern for kitchen staff.
The menu within the Templestowe Manor facility operates on a four-week rotating system that provides consumers with a wide variety of meals.
Staff watched with interest over the following three months to understand whether initial results regarding food satisfaction were part of an ongoing trend or more symbolic of a dislike of that particular menu.
Although data collected throughout the three month period between November 2018 and January 2019 did show a slight increase in consumer food satisfaction to 71 per cent, the staff at Templestowe Manor decided that this trend warranted a more in-depth discussion with their consumers.
The development of a resident focus group resulted in discussions between staff and 12 of the facility’s most forthright residents who provided valuable insight into the specifics of what consumers felt would improve their mealtime experience.
The Chef at Templestowe Manor worked closely with members of the residents’ focus group, surveying each of the individual residents with on a daily basis regarding their likes, and dislikes from the previous day’s menu.
Results from these discussions highlighted a number of minute issues, including having access to more condiments and having gravy in a separate jug that would allow residents to distribute the gravy themselves, as being some of the reasoning for the initial dissatisfaction. Kitchen staff at Templestowe Manor then set about implementing a number of improvement processes based on the direct feedback that they received from the resident focus group.
Data collected throughout February saw a dramatic increase in the consumer satisfaction with an overall score of 80 per cent, and the following month saw that positive trend culminate with a score of 100 per cent satisfaction for the month of March. May, June, and July were also extremely successful, with scores of 91 per cent and 100 per cent concurrently.
Allity staff at the Templestowe Manor Aged Care facility report that the vast majority of consumers enjoy the experience of being surveyed, as this assures consumers that their opinion is valued and presents an opportunity to interact meaningfully with staff members.
HIGHLY COMMENDED - CONSUMER EXPERIENCE - RSL LIFECARE
WINNER - DEMENTIA CARE - MANJIMUP HOME AND COMMUNITY CARE
In late 2016 Manjimup Home and Community Care (MHCC) partnered with Alzheimers WA to help the Shire of Manjimup, in south Western Australia, become a dementia-friendly community.
A key part of becoming a dementia-friendly community was creating the Boronia Club at the MHCC Wellness Centre.
The Boronia Club provides a warm, homely environment where family carers can leave their dementia-affected loved ones, confident in the knowledge that they will engage in meaningful activities with qualified staff. Volunteers at the club are trained to run specialised art and creativity classes for people with dementia, as well as the general public, on a fortnightly basis.
The Boronia Club also welcomes pre-schoolers in every month to interact with dementia clients in a heart warming intergenerational initiative. This activity opened the door for dementia awareness training and skill swap sessions to take place in local schools.
Another part of the project was the successful education programs at two schools delivered in partnership with Alzheimers WA, as well as a successful multi-generational skill swap project. Dementia learning has now become embedded in local school curriculums.
Why it came about
The town of Manjimup has approximately 4,300 people – 130 of whom are living with dementia.
The partners and carers of those people made it clear that their loved ones needed more support, better services and increased community empathy. As a result, MHCC decided to partner with Alzheimers WA on the Dementia-Friendly Communities (DFC) program.
In 2016, Shire of Manjimup Home & Community Care signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dementia Partnership Project (DPP is a partnership between the Department of Health and Alzheimer’s WA) and the Dementia-Friendly Community (DFC) program in Manjimup was born.
The Dementia-Friendly Community project’s primary aim is to enhance the quality of life of people living with dementia in community, and to create a dementia-friendly community, one that is stigma-free, educated, understanding and empathetic.
MHCC’s Boronia Club project, community outreach and schools project have helped realise this goal.
These projects were supported by a $15000 Dementia Friendly Communities, Community Engagement Project grant through Dementia Australia. The grant helped pay for an Alzheimer’s WA dementia specialist to deliver art and creativity workshops to interested community members and volunteers.
The initial 10-week art and creativity for dementia workshops were a success, and were then handed over to trained volunteers to run. These classes have now been running for ten months and are proving to be therapeutic, stimulating, energising and greatly satisfying for the individuals who attend. People with dementia who attend are generally calmer and less agitated after their art sessions, and fully engaged whilst participating.
In addition to the art classes, Alzheimers WA educators were employed to deliver a series of interactive workshops to local school, which were attended by 162 students. The sessions used a storybook, presentation, video, discussion and practical learning that explained how to support people living with dementia.
The success of the school project is evidenced by the fact that dementia education has been embedded into the Year 6 school curriculum at another local school, Kearnan College.
WINNER - PEOPLE AND CULTURE - REGIS
Project Flourish was initiated in 2016 to attract, engage, develop and retain Regis’ Registered Nurses (RNs) and give them a clear path to becoming Clinical Managers.
Regis wanted to ensure a minimum standard of knowledge for each of their RNs across a wide set of clinical and leadership competencies. Each RN was assessed and a tailored development plan was co-created by the RN and their Clinical Manager. The purpose of this process was to identify skill gaps and ensure that the RNs attended targeted training.
The RN assessments also helped Regis recruit more appropriately to fill identified skill gaps and design better study day schedules to address any shortfalls across the organisation.
How it came to together
In 2016, Regis’ RN turnover was 45 per cent and they were finding it difficult to recruit and retain quality RNs with Aged Care-specific experience. The Regis team set out to design a training program that would comprehensively explain the role and responsibilities of RNs at Regis.
The resulting program, called Project Flourish, is made up of two stages.
The initial three-day program called BOOST, covers Clinical Documentation, Specialist Nursing and Shift and People Leadership.
The second program, ADVANCE, is a five-day program that aims to further develop the documentation and specialist nursing skills, as well as enhance the leadership skills required at the Clinical Manager level.
Participants attend days one- four consecutively and are then required to complete a detailed workbook over the next month before completing the final day, where they reflect on their learning journey and also graduate from the course.
The Project Flourish process now starts at recruitment with scenario-based recruitment tools designed to give candidates an opportunity to demonstrate their technical and behavioural skills to ensure an alignment to culture.
New RNs complete a detailed and structured on-boarding program when joining Regis and, after four months in their role, complete a self-assessment of their Clinical and Leadership skills. This assessment is also completed by the individual’s Clinical Manager.
These two assessments are brought together in a summary report and reviewed by a Flourish Clinical Coach who creates a tailored development plan. The development plan then identifies training and study days to be attended, along with learning experiences to be completed on the job over the coming 12 months. The development plan is updated as items are completed and returned once all items are completed and the individual reassessed.
Regis uses a talent ‘9-box’ model to identify an individual’s capability and performance against their potential to move into a bigger role over a specific time period.
An individual’s ‘9-box’ position is then calibrated in discussions between the Clinical Manager, Flourish Clinical Coach and the Facility Manager. Calibrated information from individual facilities are collected and viewed by regional leadership. These calibration sessions are call ‘Flourish People Days’.
This process enables planned career pathways that better prepare talented staff for promotion, reduces transition ‘shock’ and results in improved promotion and business outcomes.
Each year, Regis deliver 25 Boost programs and eight Advance Programs. More than 300 of RNs have current development plans and 355 RNs have completed the program.
Over 85 per cent of Regis’ RNs now participate in Project Flourish and the staff turnover rate has gone from 45 per cent to 24 per cent.
Approximately 75 per cent of Regis’ promotions are now internal and their clinical and leadership scores have improved by 30 per cent for clinical and 20 per cent for leadership.
HIGHLY COMMENDED - PEOPLE AND CULTURE - SUNCARE
WINNER - PROPERTY AND DESIGN - NEW DIRECTION CARE
Independence and dignity at NewDirection Care Bellmere
A seniors’ microtown that allows residential aged care with independence has been credited with life-changing results for people with dementia.
The $30 million NewDirection at Bellmere in southeast Queensland, which opened in 2017, focuses on person-centred, innovative care provided in a small community of 17 multi-residential houses, a shop and services.
Residents live in standalone small-group homes along with a House Companion, who provides overall care when needed along with help cleaning, cooking and budgeting.
The wife of a resident who moved from a secure dementia care facility into NewDirection Care described the change in his personal circumstances as amazing.
“There is no amount of words to describe the difference,” she said.
“He has dignity again, he’s got independence. They cater to his needs rather than him having to slot into a system. I know he is happy.”
A microtown with care
NewDirection Care at Bellmere offers aged care, including dementia care, in community-style surrounds.
Based on best-practice residential aged care industry research around Australia and internationally, the property features a tiny town centre with assisted living.
Each resident has their own room and ensuite within their own home, which also features a dining and living room, full kitchen and laundry.
There are no locked doors and people are free to walk around their residence and their community.
Seventeen houses of varying architecture line streets, gardens grow throughout the property and there is a microtown centre.
This hub includes a corner store, hairdresser, dentist and other visiting services, which are open to the broader public, maintaining an important link and vitality to the wider community.
Founder and chief executive officer Natasha Chadwick said residents are housed based on their like-mindedness and what they enjoy doing.
“Residents are placed in houses according to their lifestyle and who they are as individuals, and not according to their cognitive diagnosis,” she said.
Care with freedom
NewDirection Care does not have carers in uniforms. Our unique House Companion is instead a multiskilled professional who assists with all aspects of care and living.
At meal times they sit with residents at the table. They allow freedom and autonomy in the small-group setting, something that is challenging in traditional aged care.
Through this model of care, residents have thrived.
“One of the most noticeable achievements is that our residents are happy and leading fulfilling lives,” Ms Chadwick said.
“We are making a huge difference to their lives, demonstrating that diagnosis is not the end of their world.”
The team experiences minimal sleepless night activity, generally only during the early transition period. Likewise, there is little or no reported afternoon change in behaviour, increased appetite and normal eating patterns, and clinically proven reductions in medications.
End-of-life care is also supported where loved ones can be onsite.
Residents such as John are well and content. “It’s a happy home,” he said. “Your meals are the same [as home], your ability to move and your freedom to move is the same.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED - PROPERTY AND DESIGN - MERCY HEALTH BALLARAT
WINNER - REABLEMENT / RESTORATIVE CARE - OPAL CARE / CONCENTRIC
Opal Care and Concentric Rehabilitation Centre have partnered to deliver improved health services to residents living in Opal Care homes and the wider community.
Opal Care and Concentric Rehabilitation Centre formed a partnership in 2017 to co-locate Concentric’s clinics within Opal Care homes across Australia.
Concentric offers Opal residents, as well as the general public, access to on-site, high-quality privately funded allied health care services including Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology, Occupational Therapy, Podiatry, Speech Therapy, Dietetics, Psychology Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology and Occupational Therapy.
How it came together
Angeline Violi, Director of Concentric Healthcare Services, was prompted to act when her grandmother sadly passed away due to inadequate rehabilitation following a hip fracture sustained at an aged care home. Violi’s grandmother was discharged prematurely under the assumption that a contract physiotherapist would work on her.
Due to an unfortunate combination of insufficient time, resources and funding model constraints, Violi’s grandmother did not receive the services required to correctly rehabilitate her and she subsequently died of related complications. Violi’s personal loss motivated her to explore better rehabilitation solutions.
At the same time, Opal was looking at ways to offer residents greater choice and better cater to peoples’ different preferences. Opal had found that traditional physiotherapy models of care within residential aged care focused on pain management, instead of rehabilitation and reablement.
What compounded this problem was a lack of alternatives to the traditional government funded services. Both businesses were looking for a better solution so when they met up in June 2016, the scene was set for a mutually beneficial partnership.
After more than 12 months of planning that involved extensive stakeholder engagement, starting with the executive teams of both partners, and then expanding to include clinicians and aged care residents, the partners developed a service offering which was both economically and clinically viable.
The first Opal and Concentric Rehabilitation Centre was opened at Opal Cardinal Freeman in Ashfield in September 2017.
When a resident moves into an Opal Care home, they meet with a Concentric physiotherapist who performs an initial assessment. Together, the resident and physiotherapist determine the best program to suit the resident’s individual needs and reablement goals.
Opal residents are offered a package for a set price that entitles them to a choice of one of three programs. This includes a mix of one-on-one and group exercise programs individually prescribed to meet their needs.
The first goal of the partnership was to pilot the inaugural Concentric Rehabilitation Centre in Opal Cardinal Freeman in Sydney’s Inner West.
The pilot was a success and four more clinics have been established across Australia with a special focus on managing conditions of ageing for seniors and people requiring specialist management of musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiovascular and metabolic conditions.
Two years on, Opal Cardinal Freeman has over 60 per cent of residents participating in a regular treatment programs. The centres in Opal Bankstown and Opal Carine have 70 per cent resident participation. Opal Winston Hills opened in August 2019 and is building solidly.
Due to the success of the co-located centres, Opal has committed to including in-place reablement centres in 20 homes currently in the development pipeline.
HIGHLY COMMENDED - REABLEMENT / RESTORATIVE CARE - SUNCARE
This article is part of our showcase of the 2019 Future of Ageing Awards. Suncare was Highly Commended for its work in Reablement / Restorative Care.
Short-Term Restorative Care (STRC) was introduced at Suncare in 2017 as part of a focus on at-home personal care solutions for customers. STRC is an early intervention program designed to improve wellbeing and slow down or reverse functional decline through a coordinated multidisciplinary range of services.
Each STRC packages involves access to therapy, care and equipment, and customised services to meet each customer’s goals for improving or maintaining function. Suncare utilises a holistic wellbeing model that focusses on the customer and their outcomes.
Living an independent life means different things to different people and Suncare strives to meet these expectations with new and innovative service delivery methods.
The program is delivered across South Brisbane, North Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay.
How it came together
When the Federal Government first announced its Short Term Restorative Care (STRC) initiative in February 2017, Suncare immediately recognised the long term benefits of a program such as STRC.
When a person goes into permanent care, the initial financial cost of the community includes the large expense of maintaining residential care. The individual loses their connection and feelings of security. Furthermore, the community loses the wealth of experience these people bring thus reducing diversity.
Recent studies have suggested that older community members are in fact net contributors to the economy. The STRC package assists in reducing or prolonging the shift from independent living to institutional care. This enables older people to maintain independence, autonomy, and connection to social support. It also avoids the costly option of institutional care, providing a benefit to the broader community.
The Short-Term Restorative Care (STRC) program specifically targets older Australian’s who have been referred by My Aged Care and have been assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).
To ensure success, participants can receive two episodes of eight-week STRC within a 12 month period. Participants are often referred to the program by their general practitioner (GP) who may have noticed a decline in the person. At Suncare, each package is designed specifically for and with the individual, allowing them to be in the driving seat and set goals on what they want to achieve. Together and under the guidance of the individual’s GP, Suncare develops an eight week plan to provide practical outcomes to improve health, wellbeing and ultimately a happier outlook on life.
Suncare receives funding allocations for STRC from the Australian Government. On its flagship STRC program, Suncare has capacity for 71 participants at any time. With an eight-week program run time, more than 420 people can be part of the STRC program in any given year. The program is managed by Suncare’s dedicated team of allied health and clinical specialists. Suncare has 11 staff dedicated to working with STRC, with six allied health specialists (physiotherapists, occupational therapists and nurses), and a Senior Clinical Coordinator who manages the program.
Suncare is very aware of the potential vulnerability of our customers and takes every effort to ensure they are not disadvantaged, either by the system or by circumstance. While customers are required to pay a co-contribution fee of up to $51.21 per day towards their services, Suncare will continue to deliver services to customers who are financially or socially disadvantaged, regardless of their ability to pay. Care is taken to ensure the client is not singled out, nor led to feel ashamed because of their circumstances.
When Suncare initially started delivering the entirely new STRC program, they embarked on a plan to educate partner organisations and community stakeholders about what the program could do and on client eligibility. These include local National Disability Services, Health Ageing Partnerships (with the Primary Health Network, Sunshine Coast Council and University of the Sunshine Coast), COTA, Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACATs), GP’s, health practitioners, community groups and existing clients.
Bi-monthly meetings are held to give service providers the opportunity to get together and discuss issues of concern, regulatory changes, local issues and to share success stories with other providers. It is also a great opportunity for providers to seek support. Guest speakers are often engaged to talk to the group about items of interest.
There were also challenges involved in delivering these specialised health services in regional areas. Suncare overcame this issue by developing a dedicated STRC team so as not to rely on contracted resources.
Suncare is proud to invest in research that is aligned with its purpose. They are currently partnering with Flinders University to review and identify tools to effectively measure the changes in capacity and capability of clients participating in the Short-Term Restorative Care Program.
Suncare’s successful tender to deliver the Australian Government’s new STRC initiative provided Suncare with 44 of the 475 STRC customer place allocations available nationally. This was more than any other organisation in Australia. Suncare was also offered an additional 27 places in the most recent Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR), earlier this year – a testament to its management, systems, staff and business model.
Suncare’s success in delivering this package is evidenced through the large number of new customers, filling the allocations detailed above, the improved wellbeing of people receiving STRC through Suncare program, and a corresponding increase in staff needed to support them. Suncare has increased its staff numbers by approx 69 per cent over the past two years.
Suncare’s revenue has gone up by 20 per cent in the past financial year. This revenue translates to an almost 5 per cent improvement in profits, despite considerable increases in admin costs and customer facing roles.
Measurable data for the success of each customer’s STRC package is collected through the Modified Barthel Index score system (MBI), which assesses the extent to which somebody can function independently and has mobility in their activities of daily living.
Suncare’s STRC patients have scored an average of 75, upon entering the program. At the completion of their eight week package, this average increased by an 25 per cent, to a score of 89. Individual cases have presented much higher increases. One customer scoring 66 on the initial assessment, experienced a 39 per cent increase to a final score of 92, on completion of his eight week package.
WINNER - SERVICE TRANSFORMATION - ELDERCARE INC
The Eldercare Advanced Care Services (ACS) Program offers residents an alternative to a hospital stay during times of poor health. Under the new program, Eldercare can provide treatment options in residential aged care facilities, instead of transferring unwell residents to hospital.
The Eldercare Advanced Care Services Program offers consumers more choice when it comes to treatments such as blood or iron transfusions, Chronic Disease Management Programs. IV therapy/antibiotics, male catheterisation, x-ray services and wound gluing. Under the new system, Eldercare residents can opt to have these treatments done on-site, instead of having to transfer to hospital.
ACS is an innovative expansion of service options that stemmed from the Dandelion Project. The Dandelion Project partnered with Australia Aged Care Medical Services (AACMS) to develop consumer care systems and consolidate collaborative relationships with GPs, extended care paramedics (ECPs) and emergency departments.
The Project was launched in April 2017 and completed in June 2019. Adelaide Primary Health Network (APHN) provided funding under the Australian Government Extended Primary Care for Residential Aged Care Facilities (EPC4RACF) initiative.
The Project was trialled at two Eldercare RACFs, engaging with 325 consumers. The project transformed how Eldercare prevents, manages and responds to consumers in RACFs when they develop an acute illness.
At project completion on 1 July 2019, Eldercare established its Advance Care Services program across four RACFs to 453 consumers.
How it came together
At times of acute illness, Eldercare identified that consumers in RACFs with high care needs have limited service options. An acute illness or deteriorating health often results in ambulance transfer to an emergency department. Frail older consumers can quickly succumb to complications in hospital, reducing their short and long term quality of life and wellbeing.
Eldercare staff and GPs were reporting that systems of consumer service could be enhanced through the introduction of more rigorous systems of illness prevention rather than just responding to acute illness.
The Advance Care Services option gives the resident the comfort and safety of familiar surroundings and staff who understand their individual clinical and care needs. APHN provided $527,000 of funding for phase 1, July 2017 to June 2018, and a further $220,000 for phase 2, July 2018 to June 2019. This funding enabled Eldercare to employ a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and other staff to support service development, purchase the initial equipment and resources, and coordinate stakeholder engagement and support.
AACMS are influential partners in the success of the project and ongoing ACS services through provision of GP expertise in acute medical care, and development of collaborative services and protocols.
The project was monitored to obtain clear evidence of the impact of the service model on the consumer experience. The project interviewed residents and surveyed staff to collect qualitative data regarding the service and training. This information has assisted
Eldercare to refine the service and provides evidence of the benefits, sustainability and scalability of the program.
To upskill its staff, Eldercare developed fully equipped training labs, e-learning modules, a suite of training videos and tailored immersion programs to provide multiple training opportunities. The new training program is supported by the presence of an NP to provide on-the-job coaching.
The NP role was created to provide ACS, coordinate training programs and provide coaching to support all staff to implement ACS safely and effectively. The NP provides direct clinical intervention where nursing staff are not trained in specific techniques. The NP also liaises with ECPs and EDs to build collaborative relationships and improve pathways of communication and care services.
The support of the GPs, the ECPs and the EDs is integral to the success of providing ACS services safely. Eldercare will continue to liaise with these stakeholders to maintain and build on the collaborative relationships and ensure the continuity of ACS. Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) spend the most time with residents and are the first to notice any changes, especially with a resident that finds it difficult to communicate their needs due to sensory and cognitive decline. During the project, 184 PCAs were trained on how to manage the notification process when they see that a resident is becoming ill.
The responses to staff and resident surveys highlight the fact that the ACS is a popular program that has improved conditions for residents, and provided welcome training opportunities for staff.
The main reasons consumers gave for preferring treatment in the RACF was being able to stay in their own room and knowing the staff who were administering the treatments. Staff surveys found that Registered Nurse’s confidence rose across all skill-sets after training, and the presence of the NP further contributed to staff confidence to provide the ACS.
This was confirmed by 90 per cent of respondents believing the program offered better options for residents than a transfer to the emergency department. Support for the opportunities the program provides was also high with 90 per cent of respondents agreeing the ACS program provided opportunities for personal development and that the training program was effective.
WINNER - SOCIAL INCLUSION - NILUMBIK SHIRE COUNCIL
Tech, Tea and Tales is an intergenerational program delivered in partnership by two social enterprises, Lively and Humankind Entreprises.
The 5-week program commenced April 2019 at the St Andrews Community Centre, bringing together 27 older people with five younger helpers (aged between 18-24) to build social connection, share stories, and increase technology and employment skills.
The program trained and employed young jobseekers to spend meaningful time with older community members in Nillumbik, helping them learn how to use technology as a tool for connection, and hearing and recording their life stories and experiences.
According to 2016 census data, a total of 1,226 people live in St Andrews and the median age is 42. In the St Andrews area, there are 359 people aged 55 and over, representing 29.3 per cent of the overall population. Furthermore, 18.8 per cent of all households in the area are single person households.
Older people are at an increased risk of social isolation due to a number of environmental factors, primarily the loss of physical or mental capacity or the loss of friends and family members (WHO 2016).
It is estimated that around 1 in 5 (19 per cent) of older Australians are socially isolated (Beer et al. 2016). Reduced intergenerational living, greater social and geographical mobility, the rise in one-person households – all of these trends mean that older adults may become more socially isolated. For older people with the resources to choose to live in a retirement community, travel to visit friends or simply to get online, the adverse consequences of loneliness may be minor. Remoteness, poor health and access to transport all exacerbate these risks.
In a community like St Andrews that has been assessed as having an extreme bushfire risk, where both preparing for and recovering from disaster, it is critical that there is strong community cohesion and connectedness for seniors.
How it came together
Lively and Humankind Enterprises are two social enterprises with a vision of a future in which young and older people feel fully valued, included and supported in their communities.
In 2016, Lively and Humankind Enterprises came together to create Tech, Tea and Tales, an intergenerational program that trains and employs young jobseekers to help older people learn how to use technology to connect with friends, family and their interests, and to record their life stories and experiences on film.
In 2018, Nillumbik Shire Council approached Lively and Humankind Enterprises with a view to bringing the program to the Nillumbik community. Together, Nillumbik Shire Council, Lively and Humankind Enterprises applied for funding to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, and obtained a grant to fund the delivery of a 5-week program at St Andrews Community Centre.
The program objectives were to build community resilience by supporting community-based skill and capability development, redress disadvantage caused by remoteness through increasing community connection and reducing social isolation and loneliness, encourage positive ageing and building an age-friendly community by facilitating intergenerational connection and providing opportunities for lifelong learning for older community members.
An additional objective was to support psychosocial recovery from the Black Saturday Bushfires that affected the community 10 years ago, by creating spaces for people to share their stories and connect over shared experience.
Five young people were recruited, trained and employed as ‘Tech and Story Helpers’ for the program, and 27 older community members participated. Participants were members of the local community area, and were recruited through a range of channels.
Once selected, the helpers took part in a half-day training session run by Lively and Humankind Enterprises staff to equip them for their role.
The training session focused on understanding the context for the Tech, Tea and Tales program and the social challenges it aims to solve, unearthing and challenging assumptions and stereotypes of older community members, and understanding older people’s experiences of using technology, and learning techniques for teaching technology effectively (including introduction to adult learning).
A debrief was held with each participant at the end of the 5-week period to explore their experience in the program and the outcomes they had experienced, and a community celebration was held to share the video stories recorded by participants throughout the program, and to celebrate the learning and connections formed during the program.
At the end of the program, 100 per cent of older participants said they had improved digital skills and understanding, and 94 per cent stated that they felt more confident when using their device. 88 per cent felt less anxious or fearful about using technology, and 93 per cent said that they felt more motivated to continue learning more about technology as a result.
Importantly, 100 per cent of older participants said that they felt valued and respected during their time in the program. A number of participants suggested that the program should be replicated or continued.
HIGHLY COMMENDED - SOCIAL INCLUSION - IRT FOUNDATION
WINNER - SUPPORTING INDEPENDENCE - IRT FOUNDATION
IRT Foundation’s innovative Service Linkage program connects vulnerable older Australians who have been homeless or who are at risk of homelessness to the services they need to age well.
Seniors experiencing a housing crisis are often the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, with complex factors contributing to their housing situation. Even when rehoused into affordable, age-appropriate accommodation, seniors who have faced homelessness require ongoing advocacy and support to age well.
There is a gap in service provision between housing placement services and complementary services to support senior Australians to regain and maintain their independence. To address this gap, IRT launched a pilot Service Linkage program in August 2018 to provide ongoing support to seniors who had been referred through our homelessness program.
The Service Linkage program integrates IRT’s Foundation’s approach to solving issues facing older Australians across housing placement, linkage to relevant services and social and civic participation in the Illawarra region.
A dedicated Service Linkage Coordinator was recruited to complement existing services and deliver on IRT Foundation’s Social Impact strategy. IRT Foundation is the Social Impact arm of IRT Group, a non-profit community-owned Aged Care organisation.
How it came to together
IRT Foundation’s Service Linkage program was developed based on a need identified through our homelessness programs in the Illawarra. The short-term case management of the Commonwealth funded Assistance with Care and Housing program (ACH) was not meeting the demand for support to vulnerable older people in the Illawarra who were experiencing housing instability.
Some of the factors contributing to this demand include increased housing stress in over 65-year olds in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region, poor housing affordability in NSW generally, a lack of suitable and affordable housing stock, a lack of long term support to re-enable older people who have recently been housed to maintain their tenancy, and widespread discrimination against mature age workers with few suitable flexible work placements suitable for an ageing individual.
Older people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are often dealing with multiple complicating issues such as mental health, drug and alcohol dependencies and domestic violence. Increasingly we are seeing older people forced into homelessness as a result of elder abuse, with financial and psychological abuse the most common matters reported.
In addition, the NSW Ageing Strategy suggests that renting in older age has several negative impacts on health and quality of life, especially for those with dementia, disability or other health and mobility issues.
Laws protecting people who rent do not specifically consider older renters or issues of age discrimination against older tenants. Older people in private rental can be at higher risk of homelessness.
This program addresses this social issue by providing ‘upstream’ early intervention focused on specialist older people’s housing services, which research shows benefits older people in terms of health and wellbeing, in conjunction with addressing structural barriers.
Early intervention with specialist older people’s housing services can assist older people to access affordable housing and ensure they live independently for longer. Homeless seniors who are provided with early intervention support require fewer emergency housing and health services, and avoid premature entry into residential aged care accommodation.
The Service Linkage approach was formulated based on a social determinants of health premise, developed with support from the University of Wollongong’s School of Public Health.
The Service Linkage program was solely funded in its pilot year by IRT Foundation, however in 2019 the Foundation obtained grant funding from Perpetual to sustain their continuum of activities, including the Service Linkage program.
Each client presents with a unique set of needs and prioritisation will consider how our intervention will create change through appropriate provision of services for each individual’s personal outcomes.
Many clients experience a high level of scepticism towards bureaucracy and formal service provision, and are disengaged from the ‘system’.
Alternative pathways to engagement with services are explored through identification of person-centred goals. Goals may be short-term and simple, or longer and complex, with all goals mapped against the identified outcomes in IRT Foundation’s Theory of Change. This helps to demonstrate measurable achievements against these outcomes and gives clients a sense of confidence in their journey.
The Service Linkage occurs across multiple agencies including Housing NSW, Medical/health care organisations, My Aged Care, Non-government welfare organisations, including homelessness agencies, Aged Care Service Providers, including IRT, Family/friends/acquaintances, Legal and tenancy services and real estate agencies notifying IRT about at risk tenancies.
From September 2018 to June 2019, IRT Foundation’s Service Linkage program assisted 26 clients with 1364 incidences of support, including 118 referrals to services and 532 face-to-face visits and phone-calls. Over 700 activities supporting and linking clients to services were provided.
HIGHLY COMMENDED - SUPPORTING INDEPENDENCE - FEROS CARE
Feros Care has launched the MyFeros portal – a seamless system in which seniors receiving funded supports at home can manage their own services (what, who and when), their budget, schedules and communication.
The ‘Passport’, where their portal information is accessed, is a lightning-fast system bringing every stream of data, intervention and advice relating to a client together on one platform.
Launched in January 2019, clients now have access to their own aged care journey, meticulously designed to be super senior-friendly from any screen device.
The Feros Care IT team responded to complaints about the call centre by developing a sophisticated online service called the MyFeros Passport wherein clients and their families and carer could access all their information instantly.
In an Australian-first initiative, the Feros Care IT team then spent months configuring internal systems to securely link MyFeros portal to Google Assistant.
How it came together
Feedback from Feros Care’s clients was that contacting the call centre every time they required information was inconvenient.
The IT team got to work and, after rigorous research, developed the user-friendly MyFeros portal.
During the trial of the MyFeros online portal in seniors’ homes, the IT staff found another problem.
The inspiration to embrace voice-connected devices came when staff witnessed some seniors physically struggling with the screen and realised that the portal needed to be more inclusive, particularly for those with Parkinson’s disease, vision, cognitive or dexterity impairments.
Voice command technology seemed to be the most advanced, sustainable solution. Having chosen Google Assistant as the platform, Feros’ team of developers spent several months configuring internal systems to link the MyFeros portal with Google.
Using this technology, the client experience is enhanced by simple voice commands such as, “Who is my carer today?”, “What services have I got today?”
With nothing available on the market, Feros developed ‘Passport’. At first, this required a platform to capture every Feros interaction with its client. This gave each client an individual passport to their aged-care journey, accessible through MyFeros, their own screen-based portal.
Over 24 months, a small team of two Feros developers and one tester racked up over 9,000 hours, writing 137,899 lines of code in the Passport ecosystem.
Having chosen the Google Assistant as the platform for voice command, Feros’ team of developers spent several months developing systems that would ultimately link the MyFeros portal with Google Home devices.
The MyFeros portal has been replicated steadily amongst different senior client cohorts. The first roll-out was available to 934 Home Care Package clients receiving case-managed services and then adapted for a further 5,708 clients receiving Commonwealth Home Program and other services.
Those seniors struggling with the simplest of technology were supported by Feros staff and the system also allows for a culturally and linguistically diverse client-base as the voice technology translates into multiple languages.
The introduction of the portal’s Passport across Feros gives support workers holistic visibility of the clients’ information. This means better interdepartmental collaboration to support each client, timely and accurate services and a better experience for Feros’ clients and staff.
Feros’ incorporation of Google Home into its MyFeros initiative was the first time that Google has played a central operational role in an organisation’s activities in any sector in Australia and was the catalyst for the technology giant to announce on 12 March 2019, a formal partnership with Feros for ongoing development work.
Since the launch of MyFeros portal in January 2019, the number of registered clients using it has grown by 450 per cent with an average of 15 new clients registering every week.
Feros Care’s goal was to have 20 per cent take up from Home Care Package clients by July 2019. At 20th June, 38 per cent were accessing the services via the portal.
The innovations in this nomination have been developed for social impact, empowering seniors to make choices, be independent and connected, stay safe and live well at home.
WINNER - SUSTAINABILITY - REGIS
Regis has launched a sustainability program called Taking Our First Steps, which comprises a clear strategy and action plan outlining how the company will meet its pledge to act on climate change.
Regis recognises that the consumption of resources and generation of waste will only increase as demand in the aged care sector increases. Subsequently, they have assessed where they can introduce or improve efficiencies through better building design, operational arrangements to reduce energy and water consumption, and the introduction of alternative energy sources.
Regis recently joined the Victorian State Government’s climate change pledge program, TAKE2. Delivered by Sustainability Victoria, TAKE2 is a program that provides every Victorian business, local government, community organisation and home with the information they need to act on climate change.
Regis is one of more than 1,000 businesses that have taken the pledge and part of a 12,000-strong network of Victorians working together to achieve two important targets by 2050 – achieving zero-net emissions and keeping global temperature rise to under two degrees.
How it came together
The development of the sustainability program involved five key steps, the first of which was completing desktop analysis that took into account a variety of issues that would influence the development of the ‘Taking Our First Steps’ sustainability program.
The team considered the key drivers underpinning the importance of sustainability within Regis, including resident health, good corporate governance, reputation, business disruption, employee engagement and cost reduction. They then plotted out sustainability-related risks on an organisational risk chart in order to understand the impact of those risks on any sustainability program they developed.
The team undertook a SWOT analysis, and then developed a list of material issues to Regis and its stakeholders in the context of sustainability. These included business disruption, current and future resource costs, regulations and sustainability reporting and risk exposure arising from a changing climate.
After this initial research, the Regis team presented and facilitated workshops at each home to engage with residents, facility management and frontline staff around Regis’ current and future sustainability agenda.
In addition to frontline stakeholders, they conducted extensive consultation with each member of Regis’ Executive team, asking them to identify what sustainability means to them, why they feel sustainability is important, how they assessed our current sustainability and areas for improvement in relation to sustainability.
The consultation exercise highlighted the importance of sustainability across the business, as well as identifying priority areas for action over the next three – five years, including energy efficiency, waste generation, reduction of paper use within facilities and State Office/Head Office.
The stakeholder consultation also allowed them to define sustainability as ‘Using natural resources to best effect and striving, through all our decisions, behaviours and activities, to be environmentally sound and economically viable.’
Once the stakeholder engagement process was complete, the team undertook a benchmarking exercise to identify their consumption of electricity, LPG and gas at all Regis sites between FY16 and FY18. The purpose of this exercise was to get an understanding of the energy profiles of our entire portfolio to identify where greater efficiencies could be achieved. This benchmarking allowed them to develop a list of 10 sites that had the greatest opportunity for improvement from the perspective of energy consumption.
After completing the benchmarking exercise, they were then able to draw upon on their current and historical energy performance to propose sustainability initiatives, expressed as an internal and external energy reduction per m2 target against a FY19 baseline.
The ‘Taking Our First Steps’ sustainability strategy was then created and was underpinned by an overarching vision to ‘Integrate environmental sustainability across all our operations and corporate activities’.
The four focus areas of the strategy are Sustainable Operations, Healthy Facilities, Engagement & Education and Policies & Reporting, and each has an action plan that includes a number of sustainability initiatives.
A budgetary framework was developed for each of the sustainability initiatives, leading to a formalised sustainability budget for FY19, FY20 and FY21. An internal hurdle rate of four years or less (payback) has been set for all capital sustainability projects. In FY19 our investment in solar and LEDs was based on a payback of 3.5 years.
In FY20, Regis has focussed on doing a climate risk assessment of all their sites to determine the impact of climate change, for example due to extreme weather events.
Over the past 12 months, Regis has made significant progress towards its sustainability commitments. Regis successfully applied for four Victorian Government Grants through Sustainability Victoria’s ‘Boosting Business Productivity’ funding program to conduct energy assessments of four Victorian homes. As a result of the energy audits, they implemented nine initiatives that will reduce their annual environmental impact by 450 tonnes of CO2-e, their annual energy consumption by 375,000kWh and provide annual savings of $57K.
Starting in February 2019, Regis joined an industry-first research project conducted by RMIT University that investigates the health benefits of filtered fresh air ventilation systems in aged care homes with the aim of improving the quality of life and resilience of older Australians.
As part of the research, Regis installed monitors that track enhancements in indoor air quality by monitoring a range of parameters including temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide concentration level, dust particles and pathogens.
In March 2019, Regis implemented two major investments including LED lighting and solar across 35 Regis sites. Regis is on target to install 4,400 solar panels, capable of generating 1.6MWs of electricity. Regis will also install over 15,000 LED lights. The estimated annual savings from this combined rollout is $800K, with a payback of under four years.
Regis also ran a ‘War on Waste’ campaign in FY19 with various initiatives occurring throughout the year throughout its home, engaging both staff and residents.