Christadelphian Aged Care has embarked upon a ground-breaking initiative that takes a comprehensive approach to the wellbeing of our residents. Leisure and Lifestyle programs will now join our Volunteer and Spiritual Care programs under one umbrella to more deeply embed the organisation’s Vision, Mission and Values through every aspect of our care. Head of Mission and Wellbeing, Jane Burns, explains how her new role will further enrich the lives of the people in our care.
Wellbeing has now been incorporated into your role, how has this changed what you do?
As Head of Mission and Wellbeing I am responsible for the management of a comprehensive Wellbeing Program across all our Homes that supports, challenges and enhances the physical, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of residents, and delivers on our Vision, Mission and Values. I provide mentorship and guidance to the wellbeing teams, including volunteers, for the betterment of the resident experience. I continue to ensure our Mission and Values are reflected into all aspects of the organisation including induction, education, policies and procedures, quality and continuous improvement.
What was the reasoning behind the change?
We have been given an opportunity to reconsider resident wellbeing by strengthening and supporting a much larger, more flexible team. This is essential from a spiritual perspective as we apply our Vision, Mission and Values in practical ways. A resident may have some challenges in their health and abilities, but they still have goals and preferences they want to achieve, and a desire to manage their day-to-day life and live as best they can. Sharing insights, information and ideas across our teams will build a better community and a safer and happier environment.
How do you think Christadelphian Aged Care’s holistic approach to wellbeing sets us apart?
This initiative aims to gather the best of our Spiritual Care, Volunteer and Leisure and Lifestyle programs and activities to provide a rich and meaningful experience at our Homes. By working together, our teams will have a greater understanding of how to deliver programs in a way that will meet the individual needs and aspirations of each of our residents. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has recognised the importance of Wellbeing roles within the Aged Care Quality Standards, including a skilled workforce. Care, environment, human resources, complaints and assessments all relate back to wellbeing. By being able to utilise the skills and experiences of this diverse team, we are able to challenge ourselves to provide comprehensive Wellbeing Programs that deliver person-centred care and services to all our residents.
What are your aims for this year?
One of the losses Christadelphian Aged Care has experienced during COVID-19 lockdowns is that of many of our wonderful volunteers. This has been a difficult thing for us, as volunteers add a further layer of kindness to the resident experience. For example, they are able to spend one-on-one time with residents that solely focuses on the here and now; what the resident feels like sharing, talking about or doing in that moment, without the same time constraints or task orientation as staff. Volunteers reminisce with residents and share their life experiences, and often can help bring reflection and resolution of the past. We aim to rebuild our volunteer teams across all our locations for the greater wellbeing of both residents and staff.
How have all the teams worked to support residents and families during lockdowns?
Not only did residents develop a deeper understanding of technology to reconnect with family and friends, but our staff embraced it as well and often organised Zoom and FaceTime “picnics” with family living all over the world. Those moments of happiness helped bridge the distance and kept spirits up. Christadelphian Aged Care also adopted a program called “Masks with Heart”, which was developed by Meaningful Ageing. All staff must continue to wear masks when working in our Home, but this may make it difficult for residents to connect with those providing their care. Staff took a photo of themselves and attached this to their ID card. By showing the residents their photo, residents were aware of who they were with, which gave them confidence in the care and attention they were receiving.
How vital were the Spiritual Coordinators during the last year?
Many residents were unable to understand why they weren’t receiving visits from family and friends, or who the staff were hidden behind gowns, masks, gloves and face shields. Staff too were often overwhelmed by these circumstances. The most important thing for us to understand is that we need to know our residents – truly know them. Life is a story, and they are continuing their story with us. The Spiritual Coordinators were able to provide another level of emotional support which inspired trust and positivity to the residents and staff. Even a simple smile can be heard through a mask – try it!