A commitment to keep residents out of hospital while still providing proper care was at the heart of the work recognised at this year’s HESTA Aged Care Awards.
The organisations and professionals recognised each decided to make changes to the ways in which care was provided to better support older Australians.
The winners were recognised in three categories: Outstanding Organisation, Team Innovation and Individual Distinction.
HESTA chief executive Debby Blakey said the winners reflected the vital work of aged-care professionals in meeting the challenge of providing high-quality care and support to older people, adding each has an amazing backstory about how they are making real differences.
RN Camille Koch, from Macedon Ranges Health-Gisborne Oaks Residential Aged Care in Victoria, won the Individual Distinction Award for her working improving wound management across the provider’s homes.
Koch established a multi-disciplinary Wounds Resource Team to improved practice, reduce the severity of wounds and improve documentation.
After starting out her nursing career in the acute care surgical ward and seeing older patients with severe wounds, Koch wanted to prevent residents from developing wounds that require hospitalisation.
The Wounds Resource Team consists of registered nurses, enrolled nurses, personal care assistants, occupational therapists, dietitians, a clinical nurse manager, podiatry and district nursing.
Koch said the award acknowledges the work done by the entire team, adding: “Macedon Ranges Health continues to support further innovation in wound management and prevention, bringing in a broad range of skills from specialist allied health professionals”.
A team approach also saw PresCare’s North Rockhampton Alexandria Gardens facility win the Team Innovation Award award for its pilot program aimed at better managing clinical deterioration in residents. By establishing the Sub-Acute Care Program, the home hoped to help avoid unnecessary hospitalisation while maintaining high standards of quality care.
Following the win, Sandra Thomson, PresCare Alexandra Gardens facility manager, said: “The people we care for don’t want to go to hospital, they can feel lost and scared in an unfamiliar environment.
“Through this program, our skilled staff are able to conduct a comprehensive assessment and an informed decision can then be made to keep them in the facility rather then send them to hospital.”
The 12-month program was evaluated by CQUniversity researchers Lynne Parkinson and associate professor Trudy Dwyer. The team looked at the improvements in health outcomes and the economic benefits of the program. They found that within the first 12 months of the project, the number of residents transferred to hospital decreased by 50 per cent and the total number of days residents were in hospital decreased by 57 per cent.
HESTA also awarded Southern Cross Care (SA & NT) the Outstanding Organisation Award for its establishment of Health & Wellness Centres in 13 of its residential care homes. In the spaces, qualified fitness coordinators provide individualised fitness programs aimed at improving residents’ strength, fitness and general wellbeing.
Southern Cross Care director operations Jo Boylan said the centres have resulted in a 54 per cent reduction in fractures in the first year of the program.
“We are all about keeping our people mobile so they can keep doing all the things they enjoy in life,” Boylan said. “Our health-for-all approach means that, not only residents, but staff as well can use the gyms, which gives them access to fitness facilities that they may not otherwise have, and which are free.”Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]