More than 20 aged care innovations up for 6 prizes

Innovations in asset tracking, falls prevention, workforce recruitment and compliance training are all in the running for top honours at this year’s innovAGEING awards.

The people behind four aged care projects from around the country are vying for innovator of the year this month with solutions that tackle asset tracking, falls prevention, workforce recruitment and compliance training.

These four solutions are among 22 finalists for six national awards from innovAGEING – the national network of aged care sector providers, suppliers, researchers, consumer groups, investors and public sector agencies focused on accelerating innovation that delivers better outcomes for older Australians.

The Age Services Innovator of the Year finalists include:

  • Aidan O’Flaherty from Tulich Family Communities in New South Wales and Asset Journey for the creation of Asset Journey, which allows aged care operators to track all assets and their maintenance requirements and receive guidance on repair and replace decisions
  • David Cox from Curtin Heritage Living in Western Australia for implementing an artificial intelligence falls prevention and monitoring system at Curtin Heritage Living homes
  • Helen Kemp and Samantha Billing from Benetas in Victoria for developing better approaches and processes for sourcing and recruiting care workers at pace and volume in an increasingly competitive talent market
  • Michelle Wicky from St Basil’s NSW & ACT with Ausmed Education for spearheading adoption of Ausmed Passport at St Basil’s NSW & ACT compliance training program resulting in reduced costs, elimination of duplicated training, and faster onboarding.

Tulich Family Communities and Ausmed Education – along with YourLink – are among those contending for more than one award this year.

Merlin Kong

Head of innovAGEING Merlin Kong said there was a clear shift towards innovation to support the aged care workforce this year.

“This is an urgent and timely topic, and it’s great to see sector innovators putting their smarts to address workforce matters,” Mr Kong said.  

“In the past few years, we’ve seen a growing sophistication on what the sector considers innovative. This year’s innovation projects build on this further with greater multidisciplinary focus on people and organisations.”

Among those multidisciplinary solutions up for an award is Lifeview Residential Care’s Planting with a Purpose Program, which, as previously reported, involves residents teaming up with chefs and gardeners to cultivate and grow fresh produce for the kitchens of the Victorian provider’s aged care homes.

Lifeview resident Daphne with fresh produce

The award-winning program is led by Stephen Milsted, executive manager hospitality services, and head gardener Daniel de Sachau. Each quarter the chefs consult with residents to plan the season’s upcoming menus, then advise the gardening team of the fresh produce they require.

The gardeners then work with the residents to cultivate and grow as much produce as they can for their respective homes.

The program is among four vying for the Enhancing Consumer Experience award. The other finalists in this category are:

  • Catholic Healthcare with YourLink for implementing Connect App for clients and families to have a single source of truth to time-critical information, and the Smart Technology digital inclusion program
  • Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT for the Dementia Engagement Project, which creates a best-practice approach to the design and physical environment of dementia units that promotes independence and meaningful engagement opportunities
  • St Vincent’s Care Consumer Experience Team for the development of St Vincent’s Care’s Consumer Experience program, which enables the organisation to recreate how it engages with the elderly in care delivery.

Other finalists

The three projects contending for the Realising Wellness and Reablement award include:

  • Atticus Health for the creation of Mark & Sylvie’s Home Care, an initiative to successfully integrate health care into care at home services
  • Australian Red Cross and YourLink for establishing the Tech Smart Seniors digital literary and volunteer buddy program to address client isolation during the pandemic and floods in the Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast region of NSW
  • LiveUp for the development of a free digital-first healthy ageing platform to give older people impartial information and opportunities to maintain their independence and social connection.

The four Improving Consumer Choice award finalists are:

  • Bay & Basin Community Resources with ExSitu for the development of a values-based onboarding tool to ensure the consumer feels seen as a person and services are targeted as opposed to a one-size-fits-all offering grounded presuming frailty
  • Catholic Healthcare with YourLink for upskilling Catholic Healthcare team members as digital coaches, thus ensuring clients have more accessible support as the organisation rolls out future digital services around allied health and social support.
  • Inclusee for the development of the Interests2Enjoy initiative to connect senior participants with volunteers in disparate locations for social support in group settings, utilising digital technology
  • Wantirna Residential Aged Care with Rauland for creating an integrated resident information and resident-focused engagement and entertainment for greater connection, and with access to care information and activities.

The four solutions up for the Increasing Care and Service Productivity award include:

Telstra Health’s CareKeeper
  • St Anna’s Residential Aged Care with Telstra Health for the development and application of the CareKeeper mobile app, which allows care workers to view and record resident care information in real-time, and cutting out the process of documenting at the nurse’s station at the end of each shift
  • McKenzie Aged Care Group with Ausmed for developing the Ausmed Passport – a digital certificate that aged care workers can carry with them from one employer to the next to evidence completed mandatory training relevant to and recognised by the sector
  • St Vincent’s Care ASPIRE Program, which results in optimisation of care delivery, equipping graduate nurses with the proper skills and knowledge, and retention of early career nurses to remain in aged care
  • Hillside at Figtree of Tulich Family Communities with Brenna for the co-design of the Brenna app – a user-friendly communication tool allowing a registered nurse to provide family members with digital updates on their loved one’s condition through a mobile app.

The three finalists for the Increasing Access to Care and Services award are:

  • Gold Coast Primary Health Network with Wound Specialist Services for the implementation of the Wound Management Pilot Project, which gives care providers access to real-time, point-of-care support, specialist advice and practical, evidence-based strategies that can be implemented into everyday clinical practice, thus empowering carers and improve care and safety
  • HammondCare Restorative Care Team for the Virtual Restorative Care program to connect HammondCare At Home clients via telehealth to an allied health professional to complete required assessments and interventions aided by a present care manager
  • Whiddon Innovation and Strategy Team for testing and scaling the Exercise 4 Life Program, a pain management and reablement initiative focused on partnering with residents to entirely customise it to their needs.

The winners of the innovAGEING National Awards will be announced on Thursday 24 November. Register here to watch the event live.

Main image: Particpants of Lifeview Residential Care’s Planting witha Purpose program

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