Melbourne nurse Bree Donnelly has been named the inaugural winner of an awards program targeting outstanding aged care employees for her exceptional dedication to infection control procedures.
Ms Donnelly, a nurse at Estia Health Wattle Glen aged care home in Melbourne, who was selected from among hundreds of nominations for a HEART Award, has been recognised for her willingness to go above and beyond during the pandemic.
She has received a $2,500 grant to go towards self or career advancement, not-for-profit donations or activities, or industry development initiatives.
The awards program launched earlier this year by Humanetix – the company behind ACE Care Management Platform – aims to celebrate workers who represent the HEART principles of helpful, empathetic, action-oriented, resilient, and trustworthy.
Kasey Howlett, a team leader at United Protestant Association’s Gumleigh Gardens Hostel in Wagga Wagga has won second prize and a $1,500 grant for her work with residents with dementia.
Ms Howlett was nominated by the daughter of a 98-year-old woman within her care, in recognition of her ability to keep residents engaged and alert.
The third prize including a $500 grant has been awarded to Janielle Jondral, an occupational therapist at Montefiore Residential Care Randwick.
Ms Jondral has been recognised for treating her residents living with dementia as care partners rather than care receivers.
Humanetix chief executive officer Arthur Shih said Ms Donnelly’s nomination stood out as it demonstrated her leadership and resilience during an incredibly challenging period.
“Bree’s manager credited her as almost single-handedly having kept their care home safe from Covid outbreaks for two years, due in large part to her proactive approach to IPC and motivation to drive change in staff attitudes,” Mr Shih said in a statement.
Aged care workers have experienced a challenging few years and this initiative is a way to championing their efforts, he said.
“They are a critical part of our healthcare system, and their work is immeasurably important in enabling happy and healthy ageing for the senior members of our society. Recognising the wonderful efforts of people like those nominated for the awards reinforces how vital these workers are to our nation.”
Main image: Bree Donnelly