By Yasmin Noone

Staff from residential aged care facilities across New South Wales are being encouraged to put up their hand and get involved in this year’s Positive Living in Aged Care Project (PLAC) Awards.

The PLAC Awards project aims to recognise NSW-based residential aged care providers which implement strategies to promote a positive approach to the prevention and management of mental health conditions.

With applications open now, providers have until 30 June to submit an application stating why they think their project stands out from the crowd.

“There are lots of facilities doing great things and so it would be good to share those projects with the industry,” said mental health promotion project officer for the Positive Living in Aged Care Awards, Mary Pillars.

“It’s an opportunity to put your hand up, and take opportunity to be recognised and share information.”

The awards identify, showcase and promote innovative strategies which have measurable impacts. It intends to promote collaboration and partnerships with mental health and other specialist services, and among residential aged care services.

Ms Pillars said that applicants must demonstrate that the project improves the mental health and wellbeing of residents. But, she said, “projects can also target staff, which then has the flow-on benefit of improving the mental health and wellbeing of residents.

“It could be an innovative staff training program or a culture change program that’s going to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

“For evaluation we look for sustainability. Consultation with residents and staff is essential. Applicants also need to show how the project can be transferred to another facility.”

The awards project also provides facilities with the opportunity to submit an early application and receive feedback about areas which could strengthen their submission. Early bird applications must be received by 31 May.

“Not all facilities have staff available to write an application, so this project gives those which don’t an opportunity to submit an application and have it reviewed before it gets accepted.”

Ms Pillars said she is also available to give advice, at any point along the line, and provide support.

“Have a look at the information on our website. If you think you have a strategy that’s suitable, give me a call or email me and we can discuss it.”

The PLAC Awards are open to all New South Wales residential aged care facilities receiving Commonwealth funding, that are currently operating the initiative at the time of application.

The finalists will be announced at an awards day on 29 August at Luna Park, Sydney. Six awards will be given across the three categories with a total of $45,000 in prize money up for grabs.

The project developed through the NSW Older People’s Mental Health Working Group is funded by NSW Health and managed by the aged care peak body organisations, Aged and Community Services Association of NSW & ACT and Aged Care Association Australia – NSW.

For more information, contact Ms Pillars on (02) 8754 0400 or email  plac@agedservices.asn.au
 

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