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LASA Excellence in Age Services Award winners announced for 2021

The award winners of the Leading Aged Services Australia’s (LASA) National Excellence in Age Services Awards were announced last Friday, recognising the outstanding achievements and contributions by LASA Members for older Australians.

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One of the special seniors' exercise classes available at the LASA award winning Community Connections Team at Gymea Community Aid and Information Service, NSW. [Source: Supplied]

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LASA, Sean Rooney, and the judging panel gave praise to the winners of this year's awards.

This is the second year that the awards have been held online, however, LASA Members joined in the virtual celebrations as the winners were announced across five categories.

While it has been another challenging year for aged care providers, Mr Rooney says it has not stopped staff and organisations from striving to deliver the best quality and safest aged care services to older Australians.

"These awards give us an opportunity to highlight the efforts of those of our Members who have made an exceptional contribution to age services over the past year," says Mr Rooney.

"They are the ones who innovate, who show incredible dedication and compassion in providing services in retirement villages, independent living, home care support and residential aged care.

"In 2021, we recognise some outstanding achievements by our Members who have drawn on their creativity and enthusiasm, and who have simply gone that extra mile, to deliver for their clients."

The winners of the 2021 LASA Excellence in Age Services Awards are:

  • Individual Award - Janelle Veale of Roseneath Aged Care Centre in NSW

Janelle started as a General Manager at Roseneath Aged Care Centre near Glen Innes, NSW, in 2018. She has years of past experience in aged care and was successful in developing a culture of providing customer-focused services in a team environment approach, which she calls Person First Care Planning.

The award judges believe that Janelle demonstrated a positive attitude, valued her staff, and made the care at the facility person-centric, which had a significant impact on the older residents and the people who care for them.

Janelle's style of leadership and interpersonal skill resulted in her developing strong, meaningful relationships with her staff, which also led to better care outcomes.

  • Next Gen Young Leader - Joanne Wang of Ryman Healthcare in Victoria

Joanne started out as a personal care assistant before becoming a nurse. She moved through the ranks, getting promoted to Nurse Unit Manager and then Clinical Manager at Ryman Healthcare's Weary Dunlop Retirement Village, and was responsible for over 50 staff and 82 care centre residents.

In 2019, Joanne became the Ryman's Operations Quality Manager for Victoria, and in the same year, she took a leadership role in the new Ryman Village, Nellie Melba.

The judges commended Joanne for transforming the workplace from paper based to digital systems, with patient care plans now entered electronically, which improved the quality of care delivery and freed up staff.

She was also pivotal in the development of Ryman's 'COVID Go Kit', a detailed response plan in the event a resident or staff member had contact with COVID-19. Joanne also supported staff, kept up morale, improved process efficiency, and kept everyone safe.

  • Organisation - Blackall Range Care Group of Queensland

A not for profit organisation providing in home community care to older people and people with disability in the Sunshine Coast and Hinterland, Blackall Range Care managed to keep its 150 staff employed during the initial COVID-19 lockdown so it could continue to support 2,000 clients by providing meal delivery services, in home hairdressing services, and iPad loan services including free internet and tuition.

The judges said that Blackall Range Care provided a fantastic example of how functional, practical and efficient partnerships with aged care can benefit residents of a community both socially and economically. The coupling of client needs and community business was a win-win for everyone involved. Judges added that the initiative, compassion and pro bono efforts were all to support vulnerable people during lockdowns.

  • Rising Star - Emily Skeen, Care Services Manager, Grasmere Terrace of Carrington Care in NSW

Emily started her career as a casual Registered Nurse in aged care, and is now in a managerial role at Carrington Care. Emily has shown a passion for delivering quality clinical care from the first day she started at Carrington Care. She received this award for her achievements at improving consumer care, service outcomes, staff engagement and motivation. Emily has thrown her whole heart into her new role as a Clinical Manager, mentor and resource staff member for the improvement of wound management across the organisation.

The judging panel commented on Emily's initiative and approach for staff to utilise person centred care with clinically based care. Emily sees that as an important ingredient when delivering aged care. She also mentors and empowers her staff to be resourceful, show initiative and involve themselves in continuous improvement. The judges added that it was great to see Emily using her own experience to raise the standard in clinical wound care, as well as having such a positive energy.

  • Team - Community Connections Team at Gymea Community Aid and Information Service from NSW

Delivering CHSP services to their clients, the Community Connections Team developed creative and interactive excursions on site to brighten the days of their older customers. This included free seniors’ exercise and social support programs, like Zumba, seniors boxing, mat work pilates, barre, yoga, and Tai Chi.

The judges commented that they were impressed with the extraordinarily dedicated Community Connections Team who use social engagement and senior’s exercise classes as a fun way to engage older Australians providing health benefits along the way.

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