Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Mar-Apl 2012 Contents SPONSORED FEATURE
the areas of recipes, food quality, ordering procedures and equipment.
"It enables us to have excellent quality food but to manage the
logistics around that," McGregor says.
A new payroll system, Renown, will soon be implemented.
McGregor says this increasing modernisation will not only help
attract tech-savvy younger employees, but enable seamless
transitions for staff moving between Cambridge facilities.
"As we go,we'll become more sophisticated; we'll feel more
confident that we'll be retaining our staff and the staff that we've
trained will stay with us. This is our vision; and new staff will be
confident enough to say 'I want to work with them because of the
way that they've modernised every facility they've taken on'."
Cambridge Aged Care had seven unannounced accreditation
visits in four months recently, and McGregor is thrilled it has
come through every time.
"Staff should be proud of themselves."
DANCING UP A STORM
Despite the enormous workload completed and what lies ahead,
there's a definite buzz in the air at Cambridge Aged Care.
"We sit down a lot and look at what we're doing and the
challenges," says Brendan Wood.
"Sometimes you take a deep breath
and think, when am I going to sleep?
Then, five minutes later, we're walking
out thinking, this is what we want to do,
and it's exciting. If we can make the sorts
of changes we have, or get even half the
response we're getting at the moment,
then life's going to be great."
He tells the story of an immobile resident
watching the dancing at her home one night
recently. She said she'd love to participate.
"One staff member said, 'We can
fix that.' So we lifted her and held her
between us and rocked back and forth and
danced for a couple of minutes. She was
crying, half the staff were crying. She said
to Alistair [Henderson], 'I never thought
I'd dance again.' That's what it's all about;
that's what we want to do."
Henderson takes up the theme too.
"Basically it's harking back to that
generation where they would sit around
after dinner and do music. Recently, one
of our residents who used to be a stand-
up comedian, did five minutes of stand up.
He just had us all in stitches."
It is clear the residents are enjoying the
new Cambridge approach, and, gradually,
so are the staff.
"Slowly but surely they're just loving it,"
says Henderson. "It is critical for everyone
in the organisation, from receptionist to
CEO, to regularly visit our homes and
experience exactly what it is that we do.
"It's surprised me how quickly this
is happening. To think we're not even
12 months old and we went to a staff
meeting recently at Bendigo and we were
discussing what's happening and I thanked
everyone for putting up with the changes.
"They just burst into applause. I'm not
stupid enough to think we're going to have
100 per cent happy staff, but if we get 85
per cent then hopefully the other 15 per
cent will come along." n
CASE STUDY: How Viva got its groove back
WHEN CAMBRIDGE Aged Care took over Viva Care in Essendon
last year, change was obviously required.
Staff morale was low, skills were not being fully utilised and
brand new nurses were being pushed into training roles.
Rae Wallace was appointed facility manager in August and,
together with clinical care manager Mandy Miller, turned things
around quickly. Within weeks 66 residents grew to 76, and
Wallace threw herself into learning what Viva was all about.
"We started with regular staff meetings and then individual
meetings," she says.
"We implemented some folios for the staff and gave them
more ownership over their work, and a lot of informal education.
And Mandy and myself got out on the floor and did the shifts with
them. We found that really beneficial because we saw where they
were really struggling and where they needed more support. We
reworked our roster according to the residents and the support
Wallace, who has a degree in criminal justice together with
many years in aged care, says a significant amount of time was
spent re-educating staff in better practise, improving staff morale
"and showing them we valued their skills".
"A lot had qualifications overseas that they weren't using. And
the ones who had permanent residency here we offered upskilling."
New nurse hires also went on the agenda, moving from a
model where personal care assistants gave out the medication
because of a shortage of nurses. Now only nurses do this, and
Wallace says PCAs eventually understood this was a good thing,
enabling them to focus on resident care.
Possibly the most popular change has been the emphasis on
fun, with dancing, singing and positivity the order of the day.
"Residents and staff couldn't believe management would get
up and dance and sing with them -- we act like absolute idiots and
they love it and appreciate it. We're passionate about it because
aged care is not about having your dinner and a cup of tea and
going to bed. It's about laughing and living."
Wallace says there has been such rapid acceptance of the
changes Cambridge Aged Care has brought in at Viva, she was
able to appoint a facility manager in January this year and move to
her next facility management role at Cambridge's Mount Martha
"I recently got a text from a Viva staffer saying we miss you
and it's so nice to have fun and still do your work professionally.
At the last meeting, family members said, 'Things are changing
here, we can feel it. We can see the residents are happier.' That
did it for me, I was rapt!"
AAA | MARCH -- APRIL 2012 | 59
Photography © JGamer Productions
one of Cambridge
Aged Care's core
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