Above: Gracemere Terrace, Carrington Centennial Care’s newest 100-bed facility, which opened in 2009.
By Stephen Easton
Aged care facility Carrington Centennial Care is now a teaching nursing home, hosting four-week placements for the first crop of University of Notre Dame medical students, who expect to graduate this year.
Students who enrolled in the Sydney medical school when it first opened in 2008 have been visiting the historic facility, located in Camden on the south-western fringe of Sydney, since their first year.
Carrington Care CEO, Raad Richards, said the students initially came in groups of four or five, once a week, learning how to communicate with the elderly residents, ask them about their medical history and take notes of their clinical requirements.
“In 2011, those students are now final year students, so we extended that agreement to become an official teaching facility for the Notre Dame School of Medicine; we’ve become one of the rotations in their fourth year,” he said.
“It’s a great credit to Notre Dame University for embarking on such a partnership with a facility like Carrington. And we have the opportunity to host the medical students, so it’s also us benefiting from the partnership; our residents loved to interact with the students every Wednesday.
“Now they see them in their fourth year, about to become a doctor and they are just rapt; what they contribute adds a lot to the care we provide to our residents.”
The School of Medicine’s Acting Associate Dean, Joanne Fisher, said Carrington Care had been “an integral part of the clinical placement program…since the school’s inception”.
“The students are there 24 hours a day, five days a week and they work with the GPs who treat patients at Carrington,” she said.
“Each four weeks there’s a new student there, who works with staff and helps the GP oversee the treatment of patients, and goes and sees patients under the supervision of the GP.
“But when the GP isn’t there, the student can also keep an eye on the patients at Carrington, and contact the GP if there’s any problem.”
Raad Richards, who has had a long career as an executive in Sydney’s acute care sector, added that the experience medical students gain at a teaching nursing home would stand them in good stead to work in the health system of the future, given Australia’s ageing population.
“It’s a great thing all round and its our commitment as an aged care provider, and my commitment as a CEO, to ensure our facilities are extended to the new generation of medical students that are coming through the system and becoming doctors. It will improve their outlook to deal with the ageing population.
“It will give them that extra edge when they go into a hospital and do an internship, to deal with elderly patients. Hopefully they will be familiar with aged care facilities when they go into medical practice.
“We are very proud of our partnership with Notre Dame, it’s to their credit they’ve started thinking outside the square.