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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

LASA announces Excellence in Age Services Award winners for 2021

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This year’s LASA National Excellence in Age Services Awards have recognised outstanding achievements and contributions by LASA members, winning praise from CEO Sean Rooney and the awards judging panel.

For the second year, the awards were held online due to Covid-19 restrictions but members joined in the celebrations as the winners in five award categories were announced.

Rooney said that although it has been an extremely challenging year for LASA members that did not stop staff and organisations from striving to achieve excellence in delivering high quality and safe age services for older Australians.

“These awards give us an opportunity to highlight the efforts of those of our members who have made an exceptional contribution to age services over the past year,” Rooney said.

“They are the ones who innovate, who show incredible dedication and compassion in providing services in retirement villages, independent living, home care support and residential aged care.

“In 2021, we recognise some outstanding achievements by our members who have drawn on their creativity and enthusiasm, and who have simply gone that extra mile, to deliver for their clients.”

The five awards recognise a rising star in age services, an individual, the next Gen Young Leader, an organisation, and a team.

Each year, LASA state offices conduct Excellence in Age Services Awards for state and territory members and the winners of those awards become national finalists.

The Rising Star award this year was won by Emily Skeen of Carrington Care in NSW, the Individual Award was won by Janelle Veale of Roseneath Aged Care Centre in NSW, the Next Gen Young Leader award was won by Joanne Wang of Ryman Healthcare in Victoria, the Organisation winner is Blackall Range Care Group of Queensland, and the Team award winner is Community Connections Team at Gymea Community Aid and Information Service in NSW.

Rising Star winner

Emily Skeen began in age services as a casual registered nurse and is now in a managerial role at Carrington Care. Emily has shown a passion for delivering exceptional clinical care from day one of her time at Carrington Care. She has improved consumer care, service outcomes, staff engagement and motivation, and has actively taken on the role as a clinical mentor and resource staff member for the improvement of wound management across the organisation.

The judges commented that Emily’s initiative and approach is for staff to weld together person-centred care with clinically based care. She sees this as a vital ingredient when it comes to aged care. As Clinical Manager at Carrington Emily mentors and empowers her staff to become resourceful, to show initiative and involve themselves in continuous improvement of their own work. It’s great to see Emily using her own experience to raise the standard in clinical wound care and to radiate such positive, contagious energy.

Individual winner

Janelle Veale joined Roseneath near Glenn Innes in NSW in 2018 as general manager having worked in aged care for the previous 14 years. Janelle succeeded in developing a culture of providing a customer-focused service in a team environment approach she describes as Person First Care Planning.

The judges commented that Janelle demonstrates how a positive attitude, valuing staff and making care person-centric can have such a significant impact on the lives of older Australians and the people who care for them. Her leadership and interpersonal skills meant she developed meaningful relationships with her staff which led to better care outcomes.

Next Gen Young Leader winner

Joanne Wang began her career as a personal care assistant and then became a nurse. She was promoted to nurse unit manager and then Clinical Manager at Ryman Healthcare’s Weary Dunlop Retirement Village, with responsibility for more than 50 staff and 82 care centre residents.

In 2019, Joanne was appointed Ryman’s Operations Quality Manager for Victoria. In the same year, Joanne took a leadership role in the start-up of a new Ryman village, Nellie Melba.

The judges said Joanne had transformed the workplace from paper-based to digital with patient care plans now entered electronically, thus improving the quality of care delivery and freeing up staff. Joanne was pivotal in the development of Ryman’s ‘COVID Go Kit’, a detailed response plan in the event a resident or staff member had contact with COVID. She has played a key role in supporting staff, keeping up morale, improving efficiency of processes, and keeping everyone safe.

Organisation winner

Blackall Range Care is a not-for-profit organisation providing in-home community care services to aged and disabled residents living on the Sunshine Coast and Hinterland. During the initial COVID-19 lockdown, the team at Range Care found a way to keep its 150 staff employed and to keep supporting the 2,000 clients by providing meal delivery services using local produce, an in-home hairdressing service, an iPad loan service including free internet and tuition.

The judges commented that Blackall Range Care Group provided a wonderful example of how functional, practical and efficient partnerships with age care can benefit residents of a community both socially and economically. The integration of client needs and community business was really great – a win-win that came out of a pandemic. The initiative, compassion and pro bono efforts all to support vulnerable people in lockdown.

Team winner

The Community Connections Team is responsible for delivering the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and services including individual and social support, transport and domestic assistance. The team devised creative and interactive excursions conducted on site, and provide free senior’s exercise and social support programs including Zumba, seniors boxing, mat work pilates, barre, yoga, and Tai Chi.

The judges commented that the extraordinarily dedicated Community Connections Team use advanced technology, an art therapist, care manager and chef to take clients on fully immersed interactive travel, food and art experiences. The experiences foster engagement and wellbeing among the clients through shared experiences and social interaction. The said the exercise classes were a fun way to engage older Australians providing health benefits along the way.

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