Recognising the emotional, physical and other stresses that can be placed on its team members, New South Wales aged care provider SummitCare has long sought to promote staff wellbeing.
SummitCare chief executive, Cynthia Payne, says the aged care workforce in Australia is becoming older and a shift is occurring towards not only providing safe work environments, but nurturing ones.
“SummitCare recognised the need to make this shift and we began a journey towards creating a culture that promotes wellbeing in the workplace, including an annual Wellbeing Week that we have run for eight years,” she says.
This event and its philosophy have proven successful that it has been extended to become a Wellbeing Month to allow time for greater engagement and benefit. Wellbeing Month is currently running throughout September at all SummitCare sites and aims to educate staff on their health options and environmental interactions, and provide resources to empower staff and improve interpersonal interaction.
Wellbeing Month activities include free health checks, massages, yoga sessions, Qi Gong classes and spa services. This year, SummitCare staff can access breakout areas and virtual video information, in addition to written communication. Residential centres are also running their own events, including 'Biggest Loser' style competitions.
Last year, 86% of SummitCare staff took part in Wellbeing Week activities, and more than 70% of participants provided positive feedback. This year, the numbers increased to almost 100% of staff participating.
Ms Payne, who says many team members are already enjoying Wellbeing Month, predicts this year’s wellbeing activities will be even more successful than in previous years.
“It is important to us to focus on delivering warm and caring environments, where we value every staff member and support their wellbeing – just as we do for our customers,” she says.
“Our workforce is our biggest asset. We are very proud of them and without them we would not be in the aged care business.”