Clinical governance manager Ryan Rodrigues is motivated by giving residents quality care at the end of their life.

Ryan Rodrigues, a clinical governance manager with CraigCare in Victoria, is determined to ensure residents are comfortable during their final stage of life.

Rodrigues joined the residential aged care and palliative care service provider in 2012 as a registered nurse on the night shift team. He later transitioned to the day shift team before taking on a clinical care coordinator role in 2015.

In 2019 became clinical governance manager across the organisation’s five homes in Victoria.

“I go around making sure our clinical compliance based on the accreditation standards has been met across our homes,” Rodrigues tells Australian Ageing Agenda.

His role is focused on ensuring each resident receives the care they require and maintaining the quality of their care.

No two days are the same, says Rodrigues.

Ryan Rodrigues

“I don’t have a nine-to-five job anymore. I have a reactive role, where if there is need in a particular area, I go and address the issues and concerns,” he says.

“If there is an accreditation visit, I tend to go in there and I also look at procedures, making sure that staff are abiding by the same procedures.”

Rodrigues says he was motivated to join the aged care sector because of the opportunity to spend time with older people, a desire influenced by a close relationship with his grandmother.

He also believes that older people deserve more attention than they currently get.

“I always found that there was not a lot of attention given to them towards the end of their journey. When I moved to aged care, I found that the need was there, and I felt that I was in the right position to fulfil that need,” he says.

“It’s not that they’re sick, they’re just not able to take care of themselves. Their desire is they want to keep functioning as normal as they would have.”

To further support residents, Rodrigues developed the End of Life Trajectory Planning Tool in 2015.

The tool helps clinicians develop care strategies that support residents along their palliative care journey.

Rodrigues developed the tool after noticing that staff struggle to look at residents holistically rather than just clinically, he says.

“My staff at the time didn’t know how to classify a resident during their palliative journey, but I found that was not just with my staff who did not know anything, but it was also with my nurses and among the doctors coming from acute and community care,” Rodrigues says.

The tool empowers clinical staff to support outcomes that promote the quality of life of residents.

“The trajectory tool gave us a way to be able to classify a resident and to be able to see them moving along the [palliative care] journey. We can see if they are going up or down on the spectrum and address their needs in real time.”

It also covers areas that are often overlooked by many clinicians including a resident’s social interactions, he says.

Rodrigues received the national Individual Award at Leading Age Services Australia 2019 Excellence in Age Services Awards in recognition of his work developing the trajectory tool.

He has developed an app version of the tool, which he expects to launch for iOS mobile devices in the first half of 2020 and for Android devices in the future.

Rodrigues says he is passionate about working in aged care.

“I love the challenges that the industry brings, and I love the fact that it is an ever-changing dynamic environment. I mean sometimes it’s not a good thing, but I find that it is something that drives me.”

“You don’t get bored in this industry at all.”

It is also fulfilling to make and see older people smile, says Rodrigues.

“In the aged care sector, you find that clients are very thankful and grateful. And they come from a generation that wasn’t materialistic. They were invested in relationships and bonds,” he says.

“The fact that I am there at the last stages in a person’s life is something that gives me great fulfilment and joy.”

Rodrigues says if he can provide a resident with comfort at the end of their journey, then he has achieved his goal.

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