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In this story:

  • Aged care provider announces merger
  • Estia adds four facilities to growing portfolio
  • UnitingCare Ageing recognised as a ‘top 20’ employer for LGBTI staff
  • Palliative care program recognised in international awards
  • Call for action on high rates of dementia in indigenous communities

community, connection, social isolation, support, home care, neighbourhood

Aged care provider announces merger

Aged care provider Samarinda Aged Services has announced a merger with Ashburton Support Services to provider older people in the area with greater access to aged care and community services.

Ashburton Support Services is a volunteer-based organisation that supports seniors and people with a disability through a range of services that include Meals on Wheels, social activity and cultural groups and other community support programs.

Samarinda Aged Services was established in 1996 to provide residential and community programs to the local Ashburton community.

Samarinda CEO Shane Neaves said the new organisation – Samarinda Ashburton Aged Services – would provide residential aged care, respite care and a range of community services to assist elderly people to continue to live independently in their own homes.

Ashburton CEO Nicole Boschma said the organisation would continue to provide services such as Meals on Wheels, gardening support and social activities.

A committee of management comprising representatives from both organisations has been established to run the new Samarinda Ashburton Aged Services.

Paul Gregersen

Paul Gregersen

Estia adds four facilities to growing portfolio

Public company Estia Health announced it has added four new aged care facilities to its portfolio.

The new acquisitions include a 120-bed facility in Mount Coolum in Queensland, and a group of three facilities in northern New South Wales totalling 349 beds.

CEO of Estia Paul Gregersen said the purchase puts the organisation on track to reach its target of 10,000 beds by 2020.

Since its initial public offering in December 2014, Estia has acquired a total of 549 additional beds across five facilities.

Estia also announced it had appointed Steven Boggiano as director of strategy, who will take up his position in July.

Mr Gregersen said that Mr Boggiano had extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions and joins Estia from Barclay’s Investment Bank.

“The fragmented aged care sector presents numerous growth opportunities and [Mr Boggiano] will strengthen our capability to execute our strategy and deliver strong returns to our shareholders,” said Mr Gregersen.

LGBTI web

UnitingCare Ageing recognised as a ‘top 20’ employer for LGBTI staff

Large not-for-profit aged care provider UnitingCare Ageing has been named one of Australia’s top 20 employers for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) inclusiveness in the workplace.

The award from ACON, NSW’s leading HIV and LGBTI health organisation, is determined using the Pride in Diversity’s Australian Equality Index, which evaluates and benchmarks LGBTI inclusive practices by Australian employers.

UnitingCare Ageing ranked 16th ahead of the Australian Federal Police, Department of Defence and Telstra. PwC  topped the list as Employer of the Year for 2015.

Steve Teulan, director of UnitingCare Ageing, said he was delighted the organisation had been recognised in the rankings for the first time.

“Earlier this year we showed our commitment to celebrating diversity by marching in the Mardi Gras. Now we have another reason to celebrate,” he said. “We work to enable people to be who they truly are without judgement, and seek to celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of all people.”

“It is fair to say this award reflects the hard work we have done with ACON, and our continued commitment to not only staff, but our clients and residents alike,” said Mr Teulan.

UnitingCare Ageing has worked closely with ACON and facilitated LGBTI cultural competency with over 500 staff.

Caring hands

Palliative care program recognised in international awards

An Australian aged care provider’s palliative care program was recently recognised at an international award ceremony.

The Namaste program (meaning ‘honouring the spirit’) by Uniting AgeWell (UA) gained a finalist award in the category of best dementia program, at the 6th Ageing Asia Conference in Singapore recently.

The provider’s palliative program now encompasses UA Namaste to support residents at the end life, with a new model of care, based on successful pilots run in the UK and NSW.

Staff work with residents in an holistic way to stimulate their five senses in a comforting and pleasurable way. This decreases the stress and anxiety of the residents and consequently their families and staff who, in turn, work with calmer, more relaxed residents.

The Namaste approach involves twice daily massage, music and aromatherapy to soothe and gently stimulate residents in a pleasurable way.

Allison Patchett, general manager innovation and development said that as an aged care organisation, UA wanted to “honour the spirit within: when people were at the end of their lives.

“Everyone wishes that they may depart this world in peace… Through this program we are finding straightforward, reproducible ways to calm the person and surround them with a peaceful environment at the end of their life. The benefits of the program are clear.”

Carol Bennett

Carol Bennett

Call for action on high rates of dementia in indigenous communities

Finding better ways to tackle dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) communities should be a national priority, according to Carol Bennett, CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia.

“ATSI communities are affected by dementia at a rate three to five times higher than the general Australian population and these rates are increasing”, she said.

To raise awareness of the issue, Alzheimer’s Australia hosted a workshop with 50 health and aged care workers and people with dementia from ATSI communities across the country in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Ms Bennett said education and training of communities, health workers and service providers would play a significant role in raising awareness of dementia and the lifestyle risks associated with the disease.

Fred Tanner, chairperson of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dementia Advisory Group (NATSIDAG), said dementia frequently leads to isolation and often goes unrecognised by health workers and service providers in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people also experience barriers in accessing appropriate dementia and aged care services and supports. There is a lack of cultural awareness for staff and service providers and inflexibility in the delivery of services, particularly for people residing in rural and remote areas.”

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