LASA wishes to congratulate the NSW/ACT winners of the LASA Excellence in Age Services Awards 2020.

Now in its fourth year, the LASA Excellence in Age Services Awards aim to promote and recognise excellence across the diverse and dynamic fields of endeavour in the age services industry.

The awards celebrate the passion and achievements of organisations, teams and individuals in the service of older Australians, and seek to increase public confidence and community involvement in aged care and services.

“The awards remind us of the critical role played by aged care staff in NSW and the ACT, and their tireless and heartfelt efforts to keep our loves ones safe, healthy and happy,” said LASA CEO Sean Rooney.

“It is an honour for us to provide a vehicle to highlight and celebrate their achievements, particularly during this challenging time of COVID-19. Congratulations to all the NSW/ACT award winners.”

The five categories are: Organisation Award, Team Award, Individual Award, Rising Star Award and the new Next Gen Young Leader Award.

Organisation Award – KinCare

KinCare has been honoured for innovating to meet need during the recent devastating bushfires and COVID-19.

Identifying unmet need among their clients, KinCare began making welfare calls to those in affected areas, to check on their wellbeing and pass on important information.

In one day alone, they reached out to 1,203 customers and were able to speak with 744 of them, giving the provider insight into the level of support needed so they could adapt their services.

It meant they could provide specific help to people like John, who was living alone in an area severely affected by the bushfires with no water, no food and no way out.

The onset of COVID-19 has seen the program become firmly established in the form of regular welfare checks for customers who may not have family support or social interaction at home – making a real difference in the lives of some of our most vulnerable Australians.

Team Award – Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla Aged Care Centre Teams – IRT Group

IRT’s Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) was formed in December 2019 in response to the unfolding bushfire emergency situation.

Made up of the CEO, Executive General Managers and other staff, the group met daily and liaised with government officials to ensure the organisation was across the evolving nature of the crisis. They coordinated a response team that provided support to their seven aged care centres in the affected region, by delivering food, clinical supplies, generators and diesel despite road closures and communication difficulties, enabling staff to continue to provide quality care.

The centres innovated to provide diverse activities for residents, at times with no power, no communication and road clures, with many staff working double shifts or interrupting their leave to assist with evacuations, help secure and hose down buildings as fires approached, and help to reassure residents.

IRT Dalmeny was evacuated with no incidents, while IRT Moruya became known as ‘Noah’s Ark’, taking in evacuated residents from Dalmeny, vulnerable members of the local community and an assortment of pets.

Individual Award – Ben Van Lierop, RSL LifeCare

Ben Van Lierop, Executive General Manager – People and Culture at RSL LifeCare has been instrumental in increasing staff engagement and reducing employee turnover.

Knowing that the best way to support their residents was to develop employees who demonstrated pride and excellence, he established a Strategic People and Culture Framework and identified needs for further learning.

Ben developed a new Leadership Program, which has been implemented for all executive and frontline managers to help them become confident decision-makers who are active, agile and accountable, and customer-focused.

His single unified model of care known as AIM carefully matches the most compatible residents and carers, and has been adopted across RSL LifeCare’s services to support consumer choice and dignity.

Rising Star Award – Kathy White, RSL LifeCare

Home Care Coordinator for RSL LifeCare in Galston and surrounding communities, Kathy White displays passion and dedication in the way she aims to understand each client’s circumstances to provide them with a range of personalised options.

Working alongside families and Facility Managers, Kathy goes the extra mile to ensure her clients are getting all the support they need, to maintain their health and wellbeing.

She is a trusted advocate who goes to incredible lengths to connect with others, build strong relationships and provide personalised support.

Her dedication was demonstrated the most on the day she visted a client with the client’s daughter, and then the client held their hands, smilled, said ‘I love you’, and peacefully took her last breath.

Next Gen Young Leader Award – Simon Kerrigan, Guide Healthcare

Physiotherapist Simon Kerrigan started Guide Healthcare in 2018.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Simon recognised the potential secondary detrimental effects of reduced activity and social isolation on people in residential aged care facilities.

He developed the Get Up Guide, a daily exercise program that targets key areas such as lower limb strength, balance and mobility, with handout sheets and videos to help people learn the right techniques, and help carers support residents.

Get Up Guide was provided free to all aged care providers, with the daily exercise videos downloaded more than 1,600 times.

NSW/ACT Award winners were announced on Aged Care Employee Day on 7 August, with a live broadcast.

Aged Care Employee Day is a national campaign to acknowledge the role of aged care workers in the lives of our older people, by saying #ThanksforCaring.

Media contact: Nick Way 0419 835 449 nickw@lasa.asn.au