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Aged care quality award for Aboriginal pastoral care

A pastoral program for Aboriginal people in Broome has been awarded with a Better Practice Award from the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.
Germanus Kent House resident Bertha Linty and care worker Victoria Gardener

Southern Cross Care (WA) nursing home Germanus Kent House received the award for its Galiya Mabudyan, or ‘Life is good’, pastoral care approach, designed to meet the social and cultural needs of Aboriginal residents.

Most of Germanus Kent House’s residents are Aboriginal, and more than 50% lived on remote Aboriginal communities before entering the home.

Residents might be suffering because they’ve suddenly been dislocated from family and community life at they knew it.

One of the challenges to meeting the pastoral needs of Aboriginal residents is the complex differences between each of the Aboriginal communities, according to Rosemary Hogan, Southern Cross Care (WA)’s head of Residential Care.

Ms Hogan says: “The Galiya Mabudyan approach incorporates a collective approach to memory and life; Waraja Ngarlu.

“What the team at Germanus Kent House have discovered is that Waraja Ngarlu, can to some extent be replicated by simple group activities.

“There is a strong focus on Country Buru, with fire, smells and with the personal and familial memory and cultural identity associated with these tactile experiences. Buru promotes recollection, reaffirms identity and assists in the organic creation of a new reservoir of group and individual memories,” Ms Hogan explains.

Community members also donate their time to play music, play games or do crafts with residents.

The Galiya Mabudyan approach aims to deliver the best possible quality of life within the restrictions of the nursing home environment, focusing on a collective approach to memory, relationships and story telling.

A leadership development program for pastoral care in an indigenous context was also developed for senior care staff by Southern Cross Care (WA), in collaboration with staff from the School of Nursing and Midwifery Notre Dame University.

Acting manager of Germanus Kent House, Lisa Anderson, says: “We are so pleased to be recognised for the program we have created for our Aboriginal residents here in Broome. The outcomes of the project are positive and appear reproducible for aboriginal and non-aboriginal residents alike.”

Germanus Kent House first opened in 1991 as an aged care facility for indigenous people, fulfilling the dream of the late St John of God Sister Germanus Kent, who spent four decades working amongst Aboriginal people in the North West.

The Better Practice Awards are presented by the Federal Government’s Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, to recognise and showcase aged care providers that go above and beyond for the benefit of their consumers. All of the award winning programs are consumer focused, committed to understanding their consumers’ needs and using research and evidence to develop and maintain a program that gets results.


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