LASA wishes to congratulate the WA 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 WA 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 – ECHO

ECHO is an organisation that demonstrates continuous improvement and innovation, and the importance of clear strategic planning, to improve the lives of older Australians.

With much of its effort focused on improving ECHO’s culture, it is also partnering with universities in WA and Tasmania to improve contemporary evidence-based practice in dementia and mental health for older people. Partnering with a WA tech start-up and WA Health, they are trialling a new in-home monitoring system, designed to improve care planning and help people stay living at home for longer.

By investing time and money into new approaches and technologies, ECHO hopes to make incremental contributions to a better standard of aged care globally.

Team Award – Collaborative Leadership Model, Maurice Zeffert Home (Inc)

The Maurice Zeffert Home (Inc) has adopted a Collaborative Leadership Model by appointing an Executive Management Team (EMT) in place of a traditional CEO model, in what is believed to be a first for the age services industry in Australia.

The EMT is guided through mutually agreed key areas of responsibility and key performance indicators that are measured by the board quarterly, resulting in continuous improvement. This has provided the Board with a clearer understanding of the business and the industry, vastly improving governance, ensuring continuity of leadership at all times, and encouraging diverse thinking through more brainstorming and strategic development.

At a time when financial constraints are on the rise, the EMT also managed to bring the organisation out of loss into surplus.

 Individual Award – Helen Nowlan, Compatible Care Nursing Services

Helen Nowlan established Compatible Care Nursing in 2012, along with Trish Gloede who sadly passed away in 2015. Determined to continue, Trish with over 28 years as a Director of Nursing partnered with her husband Paul to navigate the world of aged care.

The result is an agency that works together with providers to offer quality consulting, placement services, community nursing and specialised training on the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Their ‘Health Check Declaration’ easily accessed via smartphone has provided enormous support for providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their work with COTA has produced an invaluable ‘Stay at Home Guide’ for older Australians.

Rising Star Award – Hadja Sow, ECHO

 Hadja Sow, a Scheduler for ECHO, provides a key link between clients and staff both in the office and in the field, making sure clients are at ease and their needs remain at the centre of everything she does. Always looking for opportunities to improve efficiency, Hadja managed to innovate and introduce new working approaches into this challenging role.

Her work has directly led to a significant decrease in scheduling-related complaints and an increase in compliments received, and has proven particularly important during the COVID-19 outbreak.

 Next Gen Young Leader Award – Gabriela Di Perna, MercyCare

 Transitioning from management consultancy to aged care just over 12 months ago, Gabriela Di Perna has led MercyCare’s implementation of the new Aged Care Quality Standards and all proactive initiatives regarding the Aged Care Royal Commission.

Her braindchild the Digital Empowerment project is an Australian-first, joint 12-month research study between MercyCare, the University of Queensland and CheckedIn Care to explore the impact of using the MercyCare Connect app on mood and loneliness in older Australians.

Gabriela has also been pivotal in the development of several other initiatives across MercyCare’s aged care services to make a positive difference in the lives of older Austarlians, which included the ‘Linking Together Initiative’ used during lockdown due to COVID-19.

WA 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