Aged care providers Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution and Lifeview have won industry awards this week for a workforce mental health initiative and resident gardening program.
Industry superfund HESTA recognised the exceptional achievements of organisations and teams in aged care, allied health, community services and disability services at the 2021 HESTA Excellence Awards on Wednesday night.
The eight winners picked up $7,500 each to use for education or service or product development.
RFBI won the outstanding organisation award for its week-long Mental Moments Show designed to highlight the importance of mental health for aged care professionals.
The program, which took place during Mental Health Week from 6-10 October, included performances, messages from residents and families and special guests including New South Wales Governor Margaret Beazley, Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe and Aged and Community Services Australia CEO Patricia Sparrow.
RFBI CEO Frank Price said he was proud of everyone at the organisaiton.
“I think it’s wonderful… it’s important to celebrate successes and the success here was the recognition of the workforce.
“Our teams do phenomenal work every single day. They’re the ones that come to work every day of the week when many of us have to stay home because of the other dangers of COVID, but they’re still going out there; they’re still providing the care,”Mr Price told Australian Ageing Agenda.
The Mental Moments Show aimed to recognise and address the challenges aged care workers face, he said.
“[The award] was for what we did last year. But it’s as relevant now and probably more so now,” Mr Price said.
“It’s important that we keep a focus on that because I am concerned about … the burnout that could happen in this industry going forward.”
RFBI will use the prize money to expand the Mental Moments Show to a month-long program this October involving the entire aged care sector in partnership with provider peak bodies ACSA and Leading Age Services Australia, Mr Price said.
Victorian aged care provider Lifeview won the team award for its Planting with a Purpose gardening program.
As previously reported, the program sees residents growing fresh produce for chefs in the kitchen.
Lifeview manager hospitality services Stephen Milsted said the team was excited about the win.
“This award is recognition of the hard work and tenacity shown by all involved in this program, in what has been a very trying 18-months for everyone but none more so than the health and aged care industry,” Mr Milsted said in a statement.
Lifeview resident and gardening team member Jimmy Johnson said he was honoured to receive the award.
“It’s really a pleasure to help out with the garden.”
With the prize money, Lifeview plans to expand the Planting with a Purpose program by adding more mobile gardening pods, introducing worm farms and expanding the range of fruit and vegetables grown.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey congratulated all award recipients.
“I am incredibly humbled by the innovation and dedication they have shown in caring for their communities during such challenging times,” Ms Blakey said in a statement.
The 2021 HESTA Excellence Awards took place as a virtual event on 25 August.
Main image: Lifeview residents Jimmy and Nancye gardening