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Organisations going ‘above and beyond’ recognised

A number of aged care organisations have been recognised for going ‘above and beyond’ and were recently announced as finalists as part of the 2018 Meaningful Ageing Australia Awards.

One of the hampers created by Villa Maria Catholic Homes residents as part of the Arts in Action program which has seen the organisation recognised as an awards finalist (Source: VMCH)
One of the hampers created by Villa Maria Catholic Homes residents as part of the Arts in Action program which has seen the organisation recognised as an awards finalist (Source: VMCH)

The seven finalists - including Catholic Healthcare, RFBI, Blue Haven Care Home, Southern Cross Care Broken Hill, Ashfield Baptist Homes, Catholic Care of the Aged Port Macquarie and Villa Maria Catholic Homes - have been nominated for their quality pastoral and spiritual care practice initiatives.

Meaningful Ageing Australia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ilsa Hampton says all of the providers announced as finalists show what is possible when organisations use their imagination and effort to provide quality of life for each older person.

“Our awards drive improvements in aged care across Australia by setting benchmarks and providing practical advice about how to undertake similar work,” she says.

“Our last two winners led to the Intergenerational Reminiscence Program and Dementia Specific Christian Worship Service, both of which are now being used across Australia.”

Ms Hampton adds that each finalist was chosen through a “strict process” of de-identification and judging by an independent panel coming from three States/Territories and made up of a consumer representative, senior leaders from aged care, and an academic.

Some of the initiatives recognised include:

  • Spiritual reminiscence for people living with dementia
  • Creating opportunities for isolated men to connect and reflect
  • Developing ways for residents to ‘give back’ as part of their spiritual expression
  • Helping families access meaningful spiritual care, beyond religious categories

“The judges carefully assessed each application to ensure they can demonstrate the effectiveness and sustainability of their pastoral or spiritual care offering,” Ms Hampton explains.

“The quality of applications was again outstanding.”

Ms Hampton says winners will be announced at the Awards celebration dinner held at the Melbourne Town Hall on 19 September following the Meaningful Ageing Member Representative Forum.

The winner will be revealed on the night by Australian Aged Care Quality Agency CEO Nick Ryan and will receive $1,000 towards pastoral/spiritual care in their organisation.

Elizabeth Wilson, from Villa Maria Catholic Homes says the organisation is thrilled to be a finalist in the awards, noting it is their first time being recognised.

“The program we have been nominated for, Arts in Action, reflects our dedication to promoting independence, true choice, fostering self-esteem and to provide opportunities for residents to make meaningful contributions to their community,” she explains.

“It also reflects our overall commitment as an organisation to people who are disadvantaged or marginalised, and our Mission to build inclusive, compassionate and sustainable communities.”

Through their Arts in Action program, Ms Wilson says residents engage in arts to use their skills to make crafts for people less fortunate than themselves.

The crafts are then included in Christmas hampers, funded through workplace giving programs from within the organisation and the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, which are then packed and delivered by staff to make Christmas a little brighter for financially and disadvantaged people.

“In 2016, residents made crafts for 70 hampers and in 2017 more than 100 residents created items for 500 Christmas hampers,” Ms Wilson says.

“This year we hope to deliver around 500 hampers again.

“The Arts in Action program has given aged care residents a sense of purpose, use of creative skill and a means by which to be involved in their community.

“We are proud to be nominated and whatever the outcome, delighted that staff members and the people we support who have worked very hard on this program, are acknowledged.”

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