Warrigal Launches 'Connect-19' Program

Warrigal has launched its newest service to the community: Connect-19’.

Connect-19 aims to combat social isolation for older people aged 65 years and over during times of COVID-19 isolation and social distancing. The 6-month project has been made possible through funding from the NSW Government’s Combatting Social Isolation for Seniors during COVID-19 Grant Program.

The Connect-19 program also offers a chance to re-activate and re-engage Warrigal’s existing volunteer base of over 400 who have been made inactive due to COVID-19 lockdown and visitor restrictions, by providing social engagement opportunities to older people at risk of isolation and loneliness in the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Queanbeyan areas.

Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell, said the new service aligns strongly with Warrigal’s vision of older people living great lives.

“During these times of uncertainty, it’s often people in this cohort who find themselves disconnected from family and friends or struggle to find ways to connect with people. We want to help those who are socially isolated or at risk of social isolation connect and engage with others. This service provides an opportunity to directly engage with older people, enabling such connections to take place.”

“Given the knowledge, experience and passion our volunteers bring, we believe it will be beneficial for all older people living across the region, not just Warrigal customers and residents, at risk of social isolation and loneliness.” said Mark.

Connect-19 offers regular and on-going social calls between volunteers and participants, and training and technical support for older people in the use of smart devices, supported by the provision of ‘easy to follow instructions’ and procedures on the use of technology which will enable them to connect with others.

It will also provide referral and assistance to access Warrigal’s existing ‘My Club Connect’ program, which provides a free membership-based medium for older people to connect via local clubs, special interest groups and activities that appeal directly to them.

Participants who wish to take part in this program are encouraged to call the dedicated Connect-19 Hotline on 1800 106 930, Monday to Friday between 8.30am – 5pm. Alternatively, those wanting to volunteer with Warrigal and help provide support to older people at risk of isolation can register their interest by emailing volunteering@warrigal.com.au

Media Contact: Elsbeth Olalia, Community Relations Coordinator
                         61 (4) 3665 5808

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

Warrigal Trials Special Care Unit

As Warrigal continues to focus their efforts on protecting their residents, staff and community from exposure to the COVID-19 virus, a 2-week trial of their Special Care Unit (SCU) has officially commenced.

This initiative was developed by Warrigal’s COVID-19 Management Committee that has continued to meet and monitor the challenge of managing an outbreak in a residential care environment. The idea behind the SCU was not to replace the need for hospitalisation where appropriate, but rather represents the extent of Warrigal’s plans to prepare for the possibility of an infection or outbreak as has been experienced in other locations.

Although there are still no confirmed cases of the virus at Warrigal, with community transmissions an ongoing concernparticularly the growing number of new COVID-19 cases in Victorian nursing homes, Warrigal has continued to remain vigilant with their practices, and have implemented strict screening procedures to prevent or minimise the virus from entering their homes.

The SCU is located in Warrigal’s Warilla location, and is operating and completely separate to the rest of the Residential Care Home. The 22-bed unit is designed to isolate any customers from Warrigal’s care homes, home services or villages with COVID-19 who are unable to go to the hospital but need to be isolated and receive additional care.

Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell said, “Ensuring Warrigal can respond rapidly in the event of a COVID-19 health emergency is a priority. We want to be able to provide care and isolate any confirmed cases, and the establishment of this unit will enable us to maximise isolation measures and give the best possible protection to our residents, clients and staff.”

“The unit is an addition to our usual robust infection control practices; we hope to learn a lot from this trial that will assist us in reducing any risk to the people in our care.” he said.

As well as being experienced in treating people with infections, the SCU is staffed by those who have expressed a direct interest to proactively care for older people who are facing this new health challenge. Working in 12-hour shifts with accommodation provided, all staff working in the unit have been given additional training, support and personal protective equipment.

“Even as we are trying to navigate through this strange and difficult time, the creation of the Special Care Unit would not have been possible without the level of commitment and dedication of our staff, who have put in all the hard work behind the scenes to make this happen.”

“This is way beyond the normal level of preparation than you would normally see in any aged care home and I am proud to say that this initiative is one to be celebrated by our staff – who have all worked together to achieve the same goal to protect our community.” Mark said.

Although only one unit has been established in the Illawarra, should the need arise a second would be considered for other locations.

Warrigal aims to take any learnings from the trial to be able to better facilitate and understand the demands of working a Special Care Unit, as well as being able to mobilise a specialised workforce at a moments’ notice. If you would like further information or are interested in working in Warrigal’s Special Care Unit, contact Warrigal on 1800 927 744.

The SCU at a glance:

  • Residents - Families of ‘patients’ taking part in the trial have given their consent for their loved ones to take part
  • Staff - The SCU is staffed by a mix of existing Warrigal employees spanning across several Warrigal locations and a small number of new recruits
  • Training –20 staff members spent 3 days of intensive clinical and team building training
  • On shift – All SCU staff have been trained to remain on high alert and follow strict policies and procedures as if the ‘patients’ have the virus
  • PPE – Staff are dressed and work in full PPE at all times while on shift
  • See Warrigal’s Facebook page for a glimpse of the Special Care Unit: @WarrigalCommunities


COVID-19: Protecting the Warrigal Community

The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving but we are actively monitoring the situation and following the advice from the Department of Health. We are determined to protect the whole Warrigal community including our residents, other customers, families, other visitors, and all our staff and volunteers.

Please note that we will continue to update this page, so please keep checking back in for updates.

To ensure we can communicate promptly with members of our community, please make sure we have your current email address and/or phone number(s): https://www.warrigal.com.au/contact



Letter to the Prime Minister from the Warrigal Board 30/04/20

CEO Statement 29/04/20 and FAQ's: Warrigal's Special Care Units

CEO Statement 22/04/20

Media Statement 17/04/20

CEO Statement 03/04/20

CEO Statement 16/03/20



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Are you an Indigenous Job Seeker?

Are you an Indigenous Job Seeker? Are you interested in a career in Aged Care? Do you want to work for an organisation that is all about ensuring older people have great lives? If you answered yes to these two questions, then get along to our information session to hear about Warrigal’s Get Set to Go Program.

Where: Warrigal Shell Cove (50 Harbour Boulevard, Shell Cove - cnr Cutter Pde)

When: Wednesday 26 Feb 2020

Time: 10am – 11.30am

Our Get Set to Go Program will give you the necessary skills and experience as well as the opportunity of ongoing employment with us in the Illawarra!



 Get Set to Go Flyer

Warrigal’s founder turns 100

Save the Date Photo Opportunity

When: 23rd January, 2020, 10 am Morning Tea  Where: Warrigal Mt Warrigal, 5 Rowland Avenue, Mt Warrigal

Nom Rowland OAM, one of the original founders of Warrigal is turning 100 and we invite you to celebrate at morning tea at the original Warrigal Aged Care Home, Mt Warrigal. 

Attendees at the morning tea will include Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba, Warrigal CEO Mark Sewell, current Warrigal Board Members and family and friends.

Before Warrigal opened its doors in 1968, aged care fell to daughters or older people were housed on hospital verandas. There was no aged care home between Wollongong and the Victorian border.

This identified need led Warrigal to being founded by local Lions Soroptimists, Rotary and Apex clubs in partnership with Shellharbour Council to make it happen. Norm, President and member of the local Lions Club at the time was a driving force.

From a Shellharbour Council 10 bed residence, staffed entirely by volunteers, Warrigal has grown to a service for all older Australians in 9 locations, employing over 1100 staff and served by 400 volunteers.

Norm served as Chair on the original Geriatric Project which saw Warrigal come to life, he served as Chair of Warrigal’s Board for many years, and still volunteers today as a Warrigal Company Member. He was awarded an OAM for his services to the Community.

Media Contact: Lynelle Johnson, Community Relations Manager
ljohnson@warrigal.com.au 0437 929 173


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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