Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Mar-Apl 2013 Contents Staff enjoy Zumba as
part of the wellbeing
All SummitCare centres will run Play Up from the
first quarter of 2013, and Smith says staff report an
amazing change in resident engagement and participation
in the program.
"Staff say some people who never smile, love to have the
interaction and actually start laughing."
SummitCare's Leisure and Lifestyle Officers are also trained
in Spark of Life, an initiative developed by Dementia Care
Australia to improve the social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing
of people with dementia. Spark of Life,
aims to support people with dementia
and their carers.
Under this program, residents join
activities such as gardening, painting,
knitting and music therapy.
"It really taps into individual
residents... to get them to come out of
their shell," Smith says.
Meanwhile, SummitCare St Marys,
in conjunction with the Arts Health
Institute, has implemented the Sing Out
Loud Together project, which Smith
says is being piloted in SummitCare St
Marys with a local primary school. The
program uses music to promote social
engagement, elicit positive emotional
and behavioural responses and
stimulate cognitive functioning in
both healthy elderly people and people
"It's about the benefits of song and
music for aged care residents and
interaction with children."
Smith says all these programs are
focused on resident wellbeing, which
is consistent with the new SummitCare
focus. She expects care delivery
to promote wellbeing, and this will
continue to evolve.
"We may well be looking at people
wanting acupuncture or therapeutic
massage or any of the other things they've
been doing in their lives."
Last year marked a decade for Cynthia
Payne as CEO of SummitCare. It was a
time, she says, to reflect on the evolution
of the business.
"I'm so proud and privileged to work
with the people I do every day," she says.
"We have just done so much together."
Payne says her role is predominantly
as a facilitator and leader, but the
accolades that SummitCare achieves are
the result of individual participation.
"Even people that have left
SummitCare leave a legacy around their
initiatives ... That's what has helped
SummitCare make such a wonderful
transformation over those 10 years. The
collaboration and commitment that exists
is just second to none."
Looking ahead, Payne says she is
particularly excited about the new
wellbeing focus and the transition to
"The time's right for us. We couldn't
previously look at integrating into that
space because we had so much to do that
we needed to sort out with our residential
aged care services."
Now that work is consolidated,
SummitCare is ready to bring its award-
winning systems and brand experience to
even more people.
"We want more people to have the
joy of experiencing what SummitCare
can bring to their lives, and at the same
time the company will grow and we'll be
able to employ more people and make a
bigger difference." n
It's impressive feedback
A recent employee survey of SummitCare's 950 staff showed 84 per cent of the workforce
felt engaged with the organisation.
CEO Cynthia Payne says this result, coupled with a low 1.4 per cent staff turnover rate,
leads her to believe that, "staff feel what they do genuinely matters".
There are myriad ways SummitCare supports its employees. One is Wellbeing Week,
held annually in September and now in its ninth year.
"That is such a big event on our calendar that it is tattooed into our organisation,"
It involves free access for staff to health checks such as blood sugar and cholesterol
testing, plus massages and other fun activities like guessing competitions.
General Manager of Operations, Judith Leacock, says the week is vital for a number
"We're faced with an ageing workforce and part of our goal in Wellbeing Week, as well
as in our HR opportunities and frameworks, is to look at that, at encouraging exercise, at
methodologies in the way staff work in, say, manual handling," she says.
"We have a very stable workforce so they're actually ageing with us."
When recruitment is required, however, Leacock says there are several approaches.
SummitCare has existing relationships with local colleges and universities, but tends to
use local networks to advertise. A referral system also enables staff to receive a monetary
reward if they refer someone who is successfully recruited.
SummitCare also uses CMyPeople, an online profile assessment, for new recruits.
"It's looking at the traits people have, things like honesty, integrity, teamworking skills,
literacy and numeracy," Leacock says.
"We're using that to give us a really good picture of that person... Whether they're
successful or not they can have a copy of this strengths report."
Staff training is a key focus for Leacock, and SummitCare's current offering includes a
two-year management development program; a Certificate IV in Mental Health to address
the increasing diagnosis of depression in the elderly; and Certificate IV in Allied Health
Assistance (Physiotherapy) to help staff identify mobility issues.
Leacock says as SummitCare transitions to its new wellbeing brand, staff in all roles
have been involved and kept informed, with local leadership teams driving home what
wellbeing will mean, not just to residents, but to employees.
"If we understand what wellbeing means to us as people, it's even easier to see, feel
and touch it for residents."
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