Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2014 Contents In late 2011, it was determined that although Arcare's care was
well respected in the industry, our dementia services needed
improvement. In 2012 Daniella was appointed as Arcare's
dementia strategy manager to investigate this.
After initial discussions with elders, families and staff, we
realised that we couldn't begin this journey with our old values
guiding us, so the first step was to engage stakeholders so that we
could re-imagine our values together.
This work was conducted over six months during 2012;
consisting of 60 hours of focus groups, working groups and
in-depth interviews with over 280 elders, staff, volunteers and
family members. Participants were encouraged to share their
positive stories and to explore a shared vision for our future.
This Appreciative Inquiry methodology was chosen because
it matched our commitment to shifting our focus from the
management of problems to what was working well -- and then
building on that.
FOCUSING ON RELATIONSHIPS
The findings from these conversations highlighted that people's
most valued experiences were set in the context of relationships.
It was not about what happened to, or for, but between people.
Together we began to create a set of organisational values that
reflected the meaning of relationships in the lives of elders/
clients, relatives, staff and volunteers.
In December 2012 we invited 60 elders, relatives and staff to
finalise our new values statements. Neal Bethune, a family member
who attended the values development day, said: "I sat at a table
with the CEO of Arcare, an elder, a cleaner, a volunteer, and a
personal care worker. Together, we really worked hard to come up
with values that represented what everyone cared most about."
Our next challenge was to develop a model of care and
practice that would prioritise and support the development and
deepening of relationships.
Almost 12 months after embarking on this journey, we were
ready to implement our relationship-centred model of care -- a
major component of which is our dedicated staffing assignment,
where staff commit to working more shifts and to working with
the same elders.
IMPLEMENTATION & RESPONSE
We had our CEO Colin Singh's support, we knew what everyone
in the caring relationship wanted, and we had the Senses-
framework to help guide the delivery of it (adapted from Nolan
et. al 2006). The next step was to launch it all.
In September 2013 we conducted a values roadshow at our 18
residences in Victoria and Queensland, consisting of three and
four two-hour interactive sessions a day to over 1,500 staff, where
they were introduced to Arcare's new values, our relationship-
centred model of care and our dedicated staffing assignment.
As we introduced dedicated staffing we encountered
initial resistance to the changes from some of our clinical and
operational staff who had been trained in the medical model.
We overcame much of this through further intensive daylong
workshops around change management, communication, group
work and transformational leadership. Care staff embraced it --
with some willingly accepting a reduction in pay to be involved.
As for families and elders, this response from Joseph Connor, a
relative, is indicative: "For the first time in three years I can sleep
in, because I know exactly who is with Irene that morning, and I
Although only initially intended for our dementia areas, it is
now the model that guides our whole organisation.
Throughout this journey there have been times when we
almost relapsed into the older 'problem-solving' approaches, but
with the support of our chief executive, we were able to get back
on track. This strengths-based approach has worked for us on
many levels, it underpins the way we think about dementia, about
old age, about our own organisation and ultimately, the wider
aged care industry. n
Daniella Greenwood is innovation and strategy manager and Matt
Archdall is marketing manager at Arcare.
An extensive six-month
consultation process with
stakeholders informed the
development of our new values
and relationship-centred model
of care, through which staff work with the same elders, writes
Daniella Greenwood and Matt Archdall.
Arcare CEO Colin
Singh with Knox elder
Joan at the values day.
performing at the
Arcare staff at a values
roadshow at Arcare Delbridge.
A dedicated Arcare staff
member after training.
32 | JANUARY -- FEBRUARY 2014 | AAA
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