Aged care providers from Western Australia feature strongly at this week’s national industry awards, while an individual from Victoria has been recognised for developing an end-of-life planning tool.

The Leading Age Services Australia 2019 Excellence in Age Services Awards recognised outstanding achievements in aged care at a gala dinner in Adelaide on Tuesday evening.

West Australian remote aged care and respite provider EPIS Incorporated won the organisation award for its dedication to delivering care to older people in the Inland Pilbara and Western Desert region of WA.

EPIS, which has over 30 staff and a small volunteer base, incorporates a strong Aboriginal workforce to help build the skills and knowledge needed to provide care for the community’s elders.

Christopher How

Also in WA, the Nurse Leaders Project Team at aged care provider Bethanie picked up the team award for the Bethanie Nurse Leader program delivered to nurses working at Bethanie’s residential aged care facilities in 2018.

The program focused on improving customer experience and clinical practice using a combination of face-to-face seminars, workplace projects, reflective practice and online learning.

Bethanie CEO Christopher How said he is honoured the team were acknowledged for their hard work and dedication.

“It’s great recognition of the hard work the team do at Bethanie and I think its great recognition that nurse leadership is in aged care,” Mr How told Australian Ageing Agenda at the event.

Mr How said great care outcomes come from the right leaders.

“I’m a firm believer that leadership is everything. So in any organisation, any team, you can tell the outcomes they achieve is based on the quality of the leadership,” he said.

Ryan Rodrigues

The individual award went to Ryan Rodrigues, a clinical care coordinator at CraigCare in Victoria, for the development of the end-of-life trajectory planning tool.

The tool provides clinicians clear directives with advanced care planning strategies to support residents through their their palliative trajectory.

Following the success of the tool, it has now been implemented across CraigCare’s seven aged care facilities.

Mr Rodrigues said the award was the aged care sector recognising the important work that occured every day.

“It’s one of the most surreal experiences, however it’s also the best experience because of the acknowledgement that the industry has towards the work we do,” Mr Rodrigues told AAA. 

“I definitely feel like this award has given me the ability to say that someone’s watching,” he said.

Mr Rodrigues said he is motivated to work in the sector by the people he cares for.

“To be able to take care of the vulnerable at a stage when they have very little to live for and to make sure they have the most comfortable, rewarding and the best experience that the they could ever have is what drives me to keep going in the industry,” he said.

Bill Papazafiropoulous

The rising star award went to Bill Papazafiropoulous from Ridleyton Greek Homes for the Aged in South Australia.

Mr Papazfiropoulous commenced at the facility in 2014 as a lifestyle team member because he wanted to give back to his Greek elders by spreading joy.

He is now coordinating the program to 120 residents and mentors his colleagues at the facility.

Mr Papazfiropoulous said he is passionate about caring for the older Greek generation in Australia.

“I’m working in an industry where most of the consumers are Greek background like my parents. They’re the ones that came back in the 1950s and 1960s hardly speaking English. I’m trying to give back what they gave my generation,” Mr Papazfiropoulous told AAA.

LASA CEO Sean Rooney congratulated the award winners and finalists from each category.

“What comes through in every one of the winners is their passion,” Mr Rooney said.

“From Ryan’s innovation in Victoria to the team delivering remote care in outback WA, these winners exemplify our commitment to ageing well, through the best care and support, with quality, safety and compassion, always,” he said.

Mr Rooney said Australian aged care and services are the “big winners” due to the calibre of entrants and award winners.

The awards, which were sponsored by industry superfund HESTA, marked the end of LASA National Congress, which took place at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 27-29 October.

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