Warrigal participates in unique study to measure how to improve the lives of older people living with dementia or delirium

Warrigal is currently recruiting volunteers in the Canberra region to participate in a unique research study at their Warrigal Stirling residential aged care home. The study will assess the impact that volunteers have on the lives of older people living with dementia or delirium, and brings awareness to this illness during Dementia Awareness Month (September).

The study will run for six months and will involve a team of volunteers dubbed the ‘Golden Angels’. Volunteers in the study will be trained in dementia-specific person-centred care to improve residents’ emotional wellbeing and comfort. Before their start at Warrigal Stirling, volunteers will gain a comprehensive understanding of dementia and delirium, how to understand and respond to behaviour changes that can occur, different communication techniques and a range of therapeutic activities.

Each volunteer will work in Warrigal Stirling wearing their gold polo shirt to make them easily identifiable, while they spend quality time with residents living with dementia or delirium.

The study is in partnership with the Aged Care Evaluation Unit at Southern NSW Local Health District. The study aims to shine a light on older Australians living with dementia or delirium, and the benefits of increased quality social interaction to people living with this illness. After the research study has concluded, the Golden Angel volunteer program will remain in place.

Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell, commented “There are more than 400,000 Australians currently living with dementia, so there is a real need to invest time into how we can not only combat this illness, but to improve the lives of those already living with it. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of our Golden Angels volunteer program out of our Warrigal Stirling care home and look forward to potentially implementing this program to all of our homes across the ACT and NSW.”

Clinical Research Officer from Southern NSW LHD, Annaliese Blair, said “This wonderful volunteer program was developed in our rural hospitals where a large research study found that volunteer care gave families a sense of relief and supported hospital staff in their care of older people living with dementia or delirium. We’ve had lots of aged care homes interested in adapting this program and we now have funding to do so. We’re very excited to evaluate the outcomes for residents, staff, families and volunteers.”

Warrigal are recruiting for Golden Angel volunteers to join their team in Canberra. Volunteers are provided with comprehensive training, so no experience is necessary. Vaccinated volunteers are allowed to enter aged care homes during the current COVID-19 lockdown due to the essential nature of the care they provide.

For anyone who is interested in joining the Warrigal team as a Golden Angel, email volunteering@warrigal.com.au or visit their website to learn about their latest opportunities at: https://bit.ly/3AqVlNG

 

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

Warrigal celebrates retirement of long-term employee following 32 years of service, and four generations of family members employed

Warrigal recently celebrated the retirement of a long term employee following 32 years of service. Heather Peacock was a Leisure and Lifestyle officer at the Warrigal Bundanoon Residential Care Home, and is joined by her family to be a part of four generations worth of Warrigal employees.

Heather began working at Warrigal in 1989. Heather attributes Warrigal’s positive company culture, friendly team members and supportive management to being the reason for her long tenure.

Heather said, “We are a lovely community up here and there’s no particular memorythat really stands out because most days it’s always special. Everyday it’s always fun to come to work and be happy with everyone. I’ve never regretted anything here in all my years, I’ve loved every day."

There are four generations of Warrigal employees in Heather’s family;her mother Dorothy was a volunteer for 25 years (retiring only in January, 2021), her daughter-in-law began as a nurse for 17 years and is now working at Warrigal head office, and her granddaughter Jess also volunteered on the school holidays.

Heather’s daughter-in-law, Deb Jenkins, said, “Heather and I worked extremely closely during my 17 years at Bundanoon nursing together, and had many happy memories there. It is staff like Heather that make coming to work easy, her dedication and love for the residents is second to none."

Mark Sewell, Warrigal CEO said, “Everyone here at Warrigal would like to congratulate and thank Heather for the outstanding contribution she has made over the past 32 years, and celebrate the positive difference that four generations of her family have made to thousands of older people over the years. Her service is a true testament to positive culture we have here at Warrigal, and we are so proud to have such a quality workforce with people like Heather on our team. "

Warrigal Bundanoon held a small afternoon tea during Heather’s last shift, as they were unable to celebrate due to lockdown restrictions. Heather’s retirement plans are spending quality time with her husband, Alan, and tending to her garden.

Warrigal are recruiting now to search for the next generation of care workers to join their team, and to display the Warrigal values as Heather and her family have for so many years.

For anyone interested in joining the Warrigal team, visit their website to learn about their latest opportunities at warrigal.com.au

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Media Release

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

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.

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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.

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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.”

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

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PO Box 435 Albion Park, NSW 2527
Email: warrigal@warrigal.com.au
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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