Compulsory COVID-19 Vaccinations for Aged Care Workers Needs the Rest of the Plan

The Prime Minister has announced COVID-19 vaccinations for aged care workers in Australia will be made compulsory, with the first dose required by the middle of September 2021. Warrigal agrees it will provide much needed protection for both aged care staff and residents, but is calling for assistance also to be provided to ensure the process is easier for staff to ensure a wider take-up, Warrigal CEO Mark Sewell said in response to the announcement.

We are very pleased aged care staff are finally getting the attention they deserve as the most important group to get vaccinated as soon as possible. They have the most contact with the most vulnerable people to this virus.”

The recent outbreaks in several states and the slow take-up in vaccinations has resulted in a high risk situation, particularly for older Australians. Many staff are still waiting to be vaccinated today despite aged care staff being included in the original priority 1A categories to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The slow take-up has been mostly related to vaccine supply issues and vaccination access processes that have made it difficult for staff. They have also been watching the media about side effects and the different vaccines and some have been made nervous by this.” Mark said. “They should not be blamed for these issues. They are salt-of-the-earth, part-time, female, frontline care workers who are doing their best for older people in difficult circumstances.”

“The best way to improve vaccination rates for this important group is to have workplace clinics established as soon as possible to visit each aged care home. The resident vaccination program was conducted this way earlier this year, which resulted in a very high vaccination rate being achieved. Staff on-site during those days jumped at the chance to get vaccinated. It’s the best way.”

Warrigal is looking forward to working further with GP’s through the Federal Government’s Primary Health Network, as well as the local hospitals through the State Government’s Local Health Districts. Both have been very helpful so far and also need assistance to achieve this ambitious target.

ENDS


Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia, Community Relations Manager | +61 (4) 3665 5808



Warrigal Wins Community Service Award for 'Transformation and Reinvention'

Warrigal’s Property Team was awarded the ‘Transformation and Reinvention’ Award at the Community Industry Group’s “We Do Magic” Gala dinner event last Friday night.

The award, recognising Warrigal’s Safe Visiting Areas initiative, was presented in North Wollongong where over 250 people representing community service organisations were in attendance.

Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell, said winning the award was a thrilling accolade for Warrigal.

“This achievement recognises the great work that was done across the organisation by providing a clever solution with the implementation of our Safe Visiting Areas, enabling our families and residents to safely keep visiting to remain connected and supported at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.”
The Safe Visiting Areas are designated areas at each home that has a separate entrance for residents and for families. Made of timber, Perspex and glass so families were able to safely visit their loved ones with no risk of infection across the see-through physical barrier in place, each side is also fully equipped with seating and microphones.
Mark reserved special praise for the winning project, calling it ‘game-changing’.

“Our Safe Visiting Areas at Warrigal have been so successful they are now considered a key safety feature in innovative aged care building design in Australia and are included in Warrigal’s New Communities Design Standard for the future as we are likely to have to manage infectious risk for many years to come.” he said.
In other honours for the evening, Warrigal was also named finalist in the below categories, delivering on its vision of making older people’s lives great:

“Above & Beyond — Individual”, Colin Baker, Contracts Manager. Recognising his work on the effective management of Warrigal’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) stockpile when stocks were in short supply, which helped ensure staff, residents and customers were safe from the devastating Coronavirus outbreak.
“Above & Beyond — Team”, Warrigal’s Recruitment Team for creating Warrigal’s temporary surge workforce of over 100 additional staff ensuring continuity of care was available to Warrigal’s residents in preparation for a COVID-19 outbreak.
“Transformation & Reinvention”, Warrigal’s Information Services Team for implementing many technological environments to enable staff to work from home as well as supplying computer and communication devices to many older people so they remained connected to their families and the doctors in 2020.

“A Brilliant Idea” , Warrigal’s Property Team for the urgent creation of a Special Care Unit, designed to isolate any customers from Warrigal’s care homes, home services or villages with COVID-19 who were unable to go to the hospital but needed to be isolated and receive isolation and additional levels of special care.

Mark said Warrigal is proud to use the awards to highlight the great work being done in the aged care sector by the 1500 staff and over 350 volunteers at Warrigal who have worked magnificently together to achieve this recognition even in the midst of a devastating global pandemic.

“It is such a great honour to receive such accolades, especially given the other nominees who were some very impressive individuals and organisations from across Southern NSW.”

“This award is really one to be celebrated by our staff, volunteers and our customers and residents — who all want to achieve the same goal — older people in our region having great lives as they get older. That’s something which deserves to be celebrated”, Mark said.

IMG 3844

ENDS


Media Contact:

Elsbeth Olalia, Community Relations Manager
+61 (4) 3665 5808


Please note Warrigal Care has changed its name to Warrigal and should be referred to as Warrigal. Thank you.

Federal Government Aged Care Budget Announcement

Australia's aged-care system is on the pathway to transformation but more funding is still needed, Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell said in response to a record federal government package.

In this week’s Federal Budget, the Australian Government announced a $17.7 billion package over five years for aged care support and reform that is desperately needed to address the quality, safety, funding and sustainability challenges the sector currently faces.

“The commitment of additional support for older people who need the aged care sector confirms that the government recognises the importance of investing in older Australians, and whilst it alone is not enough, about half what was recommended to the Government, it is certainly a significant step forward.”

We previously were referred to as one of the best aged care systems in the world, but

successive cuts to per person funding levels over recent years, and 20 reports mostly ignored by all governments over 20 years, has led to poor staffing levels and deep deficits for most providers struggling to deliver high quality care.”

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has made 148 recommendations that the Government has now responded to. “These recommendations will transform the aged care services that our oldest Australians receive and where more than 500,000 staff work in to become once again the world’s best, if they are implemented.” Mark said.

Several significant measures were announced and the reform was started with a sizable first step focussed on reducing home care waiting lists, keeping struggling providers viable, minimum care staffing levels, new aged care training places and transparent service accountability.

A summary of the notable measures announced by the Federal Government include:

  • $6.5B on 80,000 new home care packages for people living at home to shorten the current 120,000 waiting list, taking the total to 275,000 packages
  • An additional payment of $10 per resident per day to enhance the viability and sustainability of the struggling residential aged care sector
  • 34,000 new training places so new and exisiting care staff can attain new qualification levels
  • $600m for Indigenous special funded places and Indigenous workers to enter the aged care sector
  • Special retention bonuses to be paid to nurses to keep and attract nurses to aged care.

Whilst there is no commitment in the package to fund increased wages, the Government has committed to introduce an Independent Pricing Commission to assess the real cost of providing quality care, such as increased wages and other cost movements that providers have had to absorb. 

Mark said, “Frontline staff deserve wages uplift too after they’ve held together the system through their sheer determination and wonderful gentle care. They are the salt of the earth and their unions will rightly be looking for funded wage parity with disability and health staff in the next year.”

Warrigal is pleased the very difficult Royal Commission period has now ended, and with the Government response, they are hopeful to move into a new, and more positive reform and improvement era.

“Now that the funding level is back to a good base and services can re-establish quality care and reasonable staffing levels for residents, we are excited to see what’s coming next in the lead up to the election and future budgets that will truly enable our oldest Australians to be well served for the rest of their lives.”

-ENDS-

Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia | Community Relations Manager | M +61 (4) 3665 5808

Warrigal sponsorship gets Southern Illawarra Men’s Shed (SIMS) off to a great start

A new men’s shed being created in Oak Flats is close to becoming operational, providing a space for older men to come together and work on creative projects.

What started as an idea two years ago by a group of Warrigal’s Shell Cove villagers has been made possible through funding from the NSW Government’s ‘My Community Project’ grant in 2019 for the amount of $60,721.00, which allowed the group to purchase tools, machinery and equipment, such as a dust extraction system, wood and metalworking lathes.

To assist with the project, Warrigal has made part of its Oak Flats premises available as a location and paid for the building upgrade and improvements, part of which includes parking, safe and disabled access. The Shed is 12m x 15m and in addition to the fully equipped workshop has a new kitchen where less active members can enjoy conversation and a cup of tea.

Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell said, “Warrigal is proud to be a part of this important project as the construction of the Southern Illawarra Men’s Shed would ensure the continuation of a worthwhile group that benefits the whole community.”

Now more than ever sheds offer men a critical avenue for social support and engagement. “They are an important way in which older people could learn new skills and build strong relationships, particularly into retirement,” Mark said. “Men in the Southern Illawarra will soon be able to catch up with mates and share their skills in their new shed, and I’m looking forward to hearing how SIMS makes a difference.”

Southern Illawarra Men’s Shed President, Andy Peters said, “We are thrilled to have received this level of support and on behalf of everyone who has been working so hard to see it come to life, we just want to say thank you.”

The shed has approximately 20 members at present who have been extremely busy over the last few months painting and preparing equipment for the Grand Opening to be announced soon.

 -ENDS

Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia | Community Relations Manager | M +61 (4) 3665 5808

Come and get your thrift-fix

Op Shop 160421 6

Warrigal’s iconic Op Shop that locals know and love was officially re-opened last week by Warrigal’s CEO after it shut its doors in 2020 to protect the volunteers and the local community from COVID-19. 

The Op Shop, located in Warilla, has been operating for over 35 years and has always been run by volunteers, with people travelling far and wide to visit coming from the Southern Highlands, South Coast and throughout the Illawarra.

The Op Shop’s friendly volunteers only adds to the unique shopping experience, guaranteeing more than just retail therapy when you shop there. Not only will you pick yourself up an array of recycled fashion pieces, bric-a-brac, books and even some vintage and modern-day gems at incredibly low prices, but all purchases will help to create better lives for older people.

“All funds raised from the Op Shop are used to purchase personal equipment and other items for some of our oldest locals living at Warrigal who can’t afford to buy those things for themselves. Warrigal is a charity and the shop knows how hard it is for some people who have high needs to make ends meet.” said Mark Sewell, Warrigal CEO.

“Without the regular contribution of these inspiring volunteers, Warrigal simply couldn’t open this shop,” said Mark. “They certainly are an incredible group who have set this shop up and work it every week. They tell me being able to give back is something that fills them with purpose.”

Michelle Chate, Warrigal’s Volunteer Coordinator added: “I am continually humbled by all our volunteers who give freely of their time, and the passion, commitment and energy they each bring to Warrigal.”

Donations of items are greatly appreciated particularly men’s clothing. If you're looking for a new home for your books, bric-a-brac, furniture, clothing and homewares gathering dust on shelves, or you're wanting to make space in your wardrobe for some new threads, please drop in.

Warrigal has implemented health and safety regulations to ensure the volunteers, its customers and the broader community remain COVlD-safe.

Warrigal’s Op Shop is located in George St, Warilla and is open three days per week from
9.30 am until 2 pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Contact Michelle Chate on 1800 927 744 if you’re interested in volunteering with Warrigal.

-ENDS-

Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia | Community Relations Manager | M +61 (4) 3665 5808

 

Statement from Warrigal CEO Mark Sewell on the release of the final report of the Royal Commission

Mark Sewell2

Monday, 01 March 2021 

Warrigal has welcomed the release of the Royal Commissioner’s Final Report with its 148 recommendations and extends their appreciation to the Commissioners and their teams for what they have brought to this enormous task.

The report will now be a historic turning point in the rebuild of community trust in the important services that the aged care industry provide to the oldest people in Australia.

The Government is required to give a response by May this year and will need to consider all the recommendations the Royal Commission has made, and there is widespread hope that from this a more sustainable aged care system that allows everyone to live out their lives with respect and dignity can be built.

The stories and events that were told before the Commission were not easy to hear but they were necessary. Neglect and harm is completely unacceptable and the Commission has now written a report that could potentially right the whole system. 20 previous reports over the past 20 years have not been fully implemented by various governments so this huge report will require a very large investment to be implemented.

We are hoping for a strong moral response from the government to this report so that we can implement some of the minimum staffing levels that this report recommends. There are lots of recommendations in the report that providers can implement too so we also acknowledge that providers need to be accountable too for better services.

Our senior Australians are among our greatest treasures, and they deserve the highest quality aged care possible from Governments at all levels and from all organisations that provide accommodation, services or support.

Warrigal will immediately take steps to address the matters that are referred to in the report, and will immediately set up a high-level taskforce to examine the whole report and adopt as many of the recommendations as we can at Warrigal. We will:

  • Immediately engage and work with others such as NSW Health to ensure clinically sound practice happens at every service location
  • Rapidly expand our home services this year to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of older people who want to stay at home
  • Improve our workforce selection and induction processes to make sure all new staff know what they need to know and become experts ASAP
  • Transparently report all our staff levels and ratios and all our quality care outcomes so that everyone knows what happens at every service and every location at Warrigal
  • Review our Board and Management Teams in line with the minimum standards in the Royal Commission report.

Community trust is built on transparency and Warrigal is committed more than ever to making these changes to ensure our older people come first always.

Warrigal knows that there are a lot of important issues to address. We will be implementing all the things that we can, and we feel hopeful that the Government will treat this report seriously. There may be a lot of improvement coming for everyone in the sector.

Warrigal looks forward to the year ahead, an election year, which promises to be our best opportunity to achieve the significant reform our sector needs.

Warrigal sees this time as an opportunity for all of us to focus on the future needs of older people in Australia.

Aged Care Royal Commission Final Report: Summary

Aged Care Royal Commission Final Report: Recommendations

-ENDS-

Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia | Community Relations | M +61 (4) 3665 5808

Come and get your thrift-fix

 

Op Shop 160421 6

Warrigal’s iconic Op Shop that locals know and love was officially re-opened last week by Warrigal’s CEO after it shut its doors in 2020 to protect the volunteers and the local community from COVID-19. 

The Op Shop, located in Warilla, has been operating for over 35 years and has always been run by volunteers, with people travelling far and wide to visit coming from the Southern Highlands, South Coast and throughout the Illawarra.

The Op Shop’s friendly volunteers only adds to the unique shopping experience, guaranteeing more than just retail therapy when you shop there. Not only will you pick yourself up an array of recycled fashion pieces, bric-a-brac, books and even some vintage and modern-day gems at incredibly low prices, but all purchases will help to create better lives for older people.

“All funds raised from the Op Shop are used to purchase personal equipment and other items for some of our oldest locals living at Warrigal who can’t afford to buy those things for themselves. Warrigal is a charity and the shop knows how hard it is for some people who have high needs to make ends meet.” said Mark Sewell, Warrigal CEO.

“Without the regular contribution of these inspiring volunteers, Warrigal simply couldn’t open this shop,” said Mark. “They certainly are an incredible group who have set this shop up and work it every week. They tell me being able to give back is something that fills them with purpose.”

Michelle Chate, Warrigal’s Volunteer Coordinator added: “I am continually humbled by all our volunteers who give freely of their time, and the passion, commitment and energy they each bring to Warrigal.”

Donations of items are greatly appreciated particularly men’s clothing. If you're looking for a new home for your books, bric-a-brac, furniture, clothing and homewares gathering dust on shelves, or you're wanting to make space in your wardrobe for some new threads, please drop in.

Warrigal has implemented health and safety regulations to ensure the volunteers, its customers and the broader community remain COVlD-safe.

Warrigal’s Op Shop is located in George St, Warilla and is open three days per week from 9.30 am until 2 pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Contact Michelle Chate on 1800 927 744 if you’re interested in volunteering with Warrigal.

-ENDS-

Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia | Community Relations Manager | M +61 (4) 3665 5808

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2 Pine Street, Albion Park Rail, NSW 2527
PO Box 435 Albion Park, NSW 2527
Email: warrigal@warrigal.com.au
Fax: 4257 4232

Toll free: 1800 WARRIGAL

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Volunteer with us

Warrigal was founded by volunteers and they continue to be vital to ensuring our residents happiness. From driving buses to regular visits, even assisting with our business operations, we have many varied opportunities for anyone who would like to donate their time, energy and skills to Warrigal’s residents.

Apply now