LASA wishes to congratulate the Queensland 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 across Australia, 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 Queensland 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 – Communify Queensland

Committed to community engagement, Communify Queensland’s aged care services identified a gap for clients wishing to attend events or outings in the evenings, so they created their own.

Offered monthly, the two groups are designed to be inclusive, supportive and engaging, and have evoked incredible energy and enthusiasm from participants.

Sip and Paint is an evening of guidened art facililated by a trained art therapist, which includes a homecooked meal, wine and transport.

The second group, Culture Club, is offered in partnership with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and allows participants to engage with performing arts events, with dinner and transport also included.

Team Award – Let’s Dig in Team, Bolton Clarke

Bolton Clarke’s Let’s Dig in Team has established a therapeutic horticultural program across its residential communities, with the vegetables used in the kitchen and the flowers picked by residents for their rooms.

The weekly gardening group has led to more time outdoors, more social engagement and physical activity, and greater levels of mental wellbeing.

The program builds on extensive food innovation actions across Bolton Clarke in partnership with the Maggie Beer Foundation.

Individual Award – Chezz Thompson, Bolton Clarke

Diversional Therapist Chezz Thompson from Bolton Clarke’s Rowes Bay residential aged care community in Townsville has been integral to the implementation of the Cycling without Age program.

Chezz runs the program, with the assistance of seven trained volunteer riders, in partnership with Queensland Country Credit Union.

She was instrumental in raising funds for the fist purpose-built electric-assisted tricycle for the program and is looking to fund a second one, due to demand.

Joyce, 102, says riding is wonderful fun with the wind in her hair and people in the street waving to her.

Rising Star Award – John Sison, Churches of Christ in Queensland

With advanced IT skills and a passion to make a difference, Clinical Support Officer and Registered Nurse John Sison designed and implemented new clinical governance tools for Churches of Christ in Queensland.

The tools he developed can analyse and map different clinical areas, with the information providing insight into in-house services and the Board to drive changes in practice.

As a result, there has been a significant decrease in the usage of psychotropic medications and improvements across weight monitoring and medication delivery.

Next Gen Young Leader Award – Jamie Langdon, Benevolent Living

Marketing and Communications Officer Jamie Langdon from Benevolent Living is new to aged care, her previous role in the cosmetics industry. Her fresh approach has resulted in many innovative ways to activitate the community and break down barriers with the broader community.

In a first for regional QLD, she secured a partnership with Plagroup QLD to host an Ageless Playgroup. Their group Young at Heart already has a waiting list of families keen to be involved.

Jamie also secured a grant of $20,000 for age-appropriate trishaws for residents and local seniors, started a local Cycling Without Age Chapter in partnership with the local Rockhampton cycling group, and is collaborating with the local arts community to develop an annual arts program for residents delivered by local artisans.

Queensland 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.