A model of care focusing on enriching the lives of residents and an innovative “buddy” system are among the strategies an aged care provider is using to deliver quality person-centred care, the royal commission has heard.
On Tuesday, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety heard evidence from residential aged care provider the Whiddon Group about how it is providing person-centred and relationship-based care to its residents.
Chris Mamarelis, CEO of the Whiddon Group, said the organisation changed tack in 2015 after deciding to make enriching the lives of residents its main priority.
“In order to achieve that, we had to re-engineer, if you like, our processes, and that’s where the journey began,” Mr Mamarelis told the inquiry.
He said the organisation developed a new framework to govern its delivery and approach to care, called MyLife.
“It’s a framework that is designed to put at its heart the individual, the person that we’re caring for… it’s very closely aligned with our strategic vision of enriching… the client journey and the resident journey,” Mr Mamarelis said.
Mr Mamarelis said MyLife moves away from a clinical task-focused approach towards a more holistic method that embraces quality of care.
“We’re looking at areas such as wellbeing, we’re looking at areas such as reablement and social connections. And this is the core focus of the MyLife model.
“What we have seen through delivery of MyLife are a number of core areas, and one of those has been the implementation of our relationship-based approach to care,” Mr Mamarelis said.
As part of its relationship-based approach to care, the Whiddon Group tries to keep a consistent staffing roster for its residents.
“So we have to have… smaller groups of staff caring for smaller clusters of residents. We have to ask staff to commit themselves to certain number of shifts, so there can be familiarity… and to develop those relationships,” Mr Mamarelis said.
The Whiddon Group has also implemented a My Buddy program which aims to develop relationships between staff and residents.
“My Buddy really is a framework… that assists staff and the care recipient to get to know each other better. And there’s a process there… to allow that relationship to evolve,” he said.
He said as a result of the initiatives implemented, there has seen lower levels of depression among its residents and greater job satisfaction among staff.
“In terms of the resident outcomes and the client outcomes that are a part of this program, we’ve seen improved levels – or lower levels of anxiety, lower levels of depression.”
“At an employee level, we believe there’s greater job satisfaction, and the data is telling us there’s lower staff turnover, which, in this industry, is extremely important,” Mr Mamarelis said.
Another aspect of MyLife is the Best Week initiative which aims to set goals for residents. Goals can be as simple as accessing a magazine subscription or more advanced, such as going on a fishing trip, Mr Mamarelis said.
Mr Mamarelis said risk in compliance is a barrier, however, there needs to be a culture change to deliver quality care to its residents.
“If we have a 95-year-old lady who wants to take a ride on a Harley Davidson, we’re going to make that happen,” he said.
“We want a culture that says yes, but we’re surrounded by a culture that’s always looking for ways to say no.”
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety hearing in Perth wraps up today. The next hearing takes place from 8-12 July in Darwin and 15-17 July in Cairns. It will focus on aspects of care in residential, home and flexible aged care programs and examine regional issues and quality of life for individuals in care.
To stay up to date on the latest about the Royal Commission into Aged Care and Quality go to our special coverage. We will also be issuing regular Royal Commission Roundup reports which you’ll receive in addition to your weekly e-newsletters.
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