A Melbourne aged care facility purpose-built to accommodate people with difficult behaviours has taken out Catholic Health Australia’s (CHA) inaugural award for leadership in positive ageing.

St Vincent’s Auburn House was announced as the winner by Tasmanian Health Minister, Lara Giddings during a gala ceremony at CHA’s national conference in Hobart.

The home was purposely designed for people with difficult behaviours related to dementia and mental illness and it incorporates a range of engaging environments.

They include nurseries, a music corner, a sewing area, a shed with a car and tools, woodwork and leatherwork, a tranquility garden and a teahouse.

The CEO of CHA, Martin Laverty praised the home for implementing the innovative features to improve the quality of life for residents.

“Since introducing the new areas, Auburn House has noted a significant decrease in behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia,” he said.

“The facility is now sharing its ideas with other aged care operators in Australia and internationally.”

The leadership in positive ageing award recognises CHA member organisations which have consistently demonstrated and enhanced the worth and value of the lives of the people it serves.

Holy Spirit Care Services in Queensland and Calvary Rehabilitation and Geriatric Service in Sydney were highly recommended.

A northern NSW aged care facility was also recognised as the inaugural recipient of the CHA outreach healthcare award.

Catholic Care of the Aged at Port Macquarie has united its residents in the support of a disadvantaged community in Port Moresby.

Since 2005 it has worked with the St Agnes Foundation which provides people living in the diocese of Bereina with specialist nursing, resources and health training scholarships.

“A different and important aspect of this program is that it has involved Catholic Care of the Aged residents in fundraising and other support, such as making toys and clothes for people of the Bereina community,” said Mr Laverty.

“This has not only contributed to the health and wellbeing of the people of Bereina, but has made a big positive contribution to the health and wellbeing of the CCA residents – their physical and mental health has benefited enormously from their involvement in this program.”

The outreach healthcare award recognises CHA member organisations which have demonstrated their commitment to the healing ministry of Jesus through the delivery of innovative services that improve the health status of the vulnerable and the marginalised.

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