In this wrap:
- AAG announces James Beckford Saunders as new leader
- Change of leadership at Whiddon
- Home palliative care features in NSW budget
- Business woman award for Cairns aged care leader
- Nominations open for MOA aged care award
AAG’s new leader
The Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) has announced its new chief executive officer as James Beckford Saunders, a veteran of 20 years’ experience in senior management roles in health and community not-for-profit and educational organisations.
AAG president Briony Dow said Mr Saunders, who joined the organisation on 22 June, had an impressive and well-rounded career and in his new role would support the board in leading the organisation with his enthusiasm and vision.
Mr Saunders has gained experience in ageing-related issues through population health approaches at beyondblue, Mental Illness Fellowship, Diabetes Australia and most recently at ReGen, UnitingCare’s alcohol and drug treatment and education agency, she said.
He has also worked at the University of Melbourne, Swinburne University and RMIT and holds an honours degree, post graduate qualifications in marketing, management and an MBA.
Mr Saunders replaces Tony Coles who resigned in mid-April to take up the CEO position at Audiology Australia.
Change of leadership at Whiddon
NSW not-for-profit aged care provider The Whiddon Group has announced that Lee-ann Irwin will step down as CEO on 3 July after four years in the role and 16 years with the organisation, including 11 as deputy CEO.
Ms Irwin leaves the organisation to begin retirement and current CFO and DCEO Chris Mamarelis will move into the top role from 4 July.
Board chairman John Couper said Ms Irwin had expertly led the organisation through a period of increasing industry change and rapid organisational growth, and always with the interest of its clients in mind.
Ms Irwin said it was an honour to have had the opportunity to help shape the organisation, see its role within communities across NSW develop, and be part of industry reform through the LASA NSW-ACT board and the Masonic Care Alliance.
“I am confident that Whiddon will continue to grow and prosper under Chris’ leadership and vision and am pleased to be passing the leadership of our organisation to someone as passionate about the wellbeing of our clients, staff and communities as Chris,” she said.
Mr Mamarelis said he was excited about the future and felt privileged to lead an organisation with such a rich and proud history in providing care services across the state.
“In a time of rapid change, both for our industry and organisation, Whiddon will continue to do what it does best – make a difference to the lives of those we care for, invest in our people and continue to innovate and build for the future,” he said.
Palliative care features in NSW budget
Community-based palliative care was among the winners on Tuesday as the NSW Government handed down its the 2015-16 Budget, which included a record $21-billion on health made up of $19.6 billion for health spending and a $1.4-billion capital program.
According to the Budget overview, the government will invest in key health initiatives over the next four years to transform patient healthcare as well as expand programs that broaden the interactions, and skills of older people, including:
- $32 million for community-based palliative care services
- almost $3.5 million to enhance access to specialist palliative care services and pain management services in rural and regional NSW.
- $5 million to further increase eHealth network capacity in rural Local Health Districts.
- $1 million this year towards $4 million over four years to roll-out an extra 100 telehealth sites, in addition to the 1000 sites already in operation across rural and regional areas.
- $2 million over four years for the popular Tech Savvy Seniors program
- $2 million over four years to double the number of outlets offering Seniors Card discounts, and
- 4 million in grants over four years for local community projects to deliver accessibility, active living and mobility projects for seniors.
Elsewhere, the State Government announced that the Illawarra and the South Coast Local health services “enjoyed a big windfall in funding” for health infrastructure projects. Funding includes $14.7 million to go towards upgrading Bulli Hospital Aged Care Centre of Excellence, $4.4 million to continue the development of the Wollongong Hospital Elective Surgery Unit and $38.7 million to continue construction of the South East Regional Hospital in Bega.
Business woman award for Cairns aged care leader
The co-founder of community aged care organisation Ten Years Younger Home Care has been awarded The Cairns Post’s Cairns Business Women’s Club Business Woman of the Year 2015.
Maureen Fields, a nurse of 30 years including 15 years working in and managing aged care facilities, won the award for her business acumen and contribution to the provision of premium home care in Cairns and Far North Queensland.
Ms Field said she was thrilled to have won the award and thanked husband Kevin Fields, whom she co-founded Ten Years Younger Home Care with, in 2009.
“From the outset the business has been focussed on providing a special level of care that allows people to stay in their home and their own life story. It is not just about providing quality, medical care, but creating opportunities that build and enhance quality of life. A trip to the beach, hosting a card party at home or visiting the shops, Ten Years Younger believes it’s keeping the simple things alive that make the difference,” she said.
Nominations open for aged care award
Aged care and volunteer workers supporting the health and wellbeing of older Australians in care are being called upon to nominate for MOA Benchmarking’s award in the 2015 Regional Achievement and Community Awards.
MOA Benchmarking director Lahn Straney said the MOA Benchmarking Community Service in Aged Care Award aimed to help recognise the outstanding contributions from carers, health professionals or volunteer workers in supporting the wellbeing of older Australians in care.
“We would be delighted to receive nominations from or on behalf of these individuals who passionately and selflessly provide support, guidance, encouragement, assistance or professional services within the aged care sector,” he said.
The MOA Benchmarking Community Service in Aged Care Award is available in NSW/ACT & Victoria with nominations closing on 13 August and 24 July respectively. Winners receive a cash prize to the value of $2,000- $2,500.