Each year AACQA (Australian Aged Care Quality Agency) delivers the Better Practices Awards to the aged and community care sector to recognise and foster better practice and innovation within the aged care industry. Award submissions are opened annually for submissions of new and innovative care and wellbeing practices that have been implemented within residential aged care homes to the direct benefit of residents.
The theme for 2017 was Rethinking Aged Care: Discover, Connect, Create. It’s a way to seek opportunities and explore expected requirements on the delivery of high quality care and services in aged care. This year’s Better Practice Award winners were announced at the Sydney Better Practice Conference Event at the Sofitel on Wentworth Sydney. The team and contributing homes at Hall & Prior received an award this year for their ‘Resisting Age Related Muscle Decline’ program.
In total, 2017 saw thirty-seven Better Practice Awards presented to aged care homes or community care organisations nationally.
The ‘Resisting Age Related Muscle Decline’ program started in 2015 and was implemented by Hall & Prior’s Exercise and Mobility Coordinator, Laura Majewski. This program is active through five Hall & Prior homes in New South Wales, and has been built up since inception to deliver real and very positive results in resident strength and mobility range which fosters confidence in completing everyday tasks for those residents who enjoy the program.
‘Resisting Age Related Muscle Decline’ was initiated in response to the recognition that rehabilitating muscles in the elderly could give better quality of life and enjoyment to aged care residents. Simple things that the average Australian takes for granted like ‘lifting a cuppa tea’ can be challenging for the elderly, but with the program, our residents can reinvigorate muscle to be able to complete this task independently.
The concept of the program was researched from educational based workshops, national data and programmes, as well as resistance band training techniques for general rehabilitation. The program was then tailored to the Hall & Prior resident care needs and general demographic to resist and rehabilitate muscle decline in the elderly.
Laura says “This is such a huge honour to be recognised by the Governments, Australian Aged Care & Quality Agency for a Better Practice Award. The development of this program started years ago in response to research based papers that highlighted the ‘Theraband’ as an effective resistance training device for muscle rehabilitation. Vaucluse, Glenwood and Caroline Chisholm Aged Care Homes were the three original Hall & Prior homes to start the program and this has since been rolled out to five. Over the next year, the program will be implemented at the remaining New South Wales Hall & Prior residential aged care homes”.
Current homes involved in the program are Caroline Chisholm Aged Care Home in Lane Cove, Glenwood Aged Care Home in Greenwich, Vaucluse Aged Care Home, Fairfield Aged Care Home and Aubrey Downer Aged Care Home which is located in the Central Coast region of NSW. Key stakeholders in this program are the Lifestyle and Wellbeing staff at each home, who run specially designed resistance exercise sessions with groups of residents each week.
Kris Healy, General Manager says “There are many people involved in the success and roll out of a program like this, so this award is also a great recognition to the culture of teamwork and collaboration we have among our staff in the Hall & Prior network of aged care homes”.
The Better Practice categories that the ‘Resisting Age Related Muscle Decline’ was recognised for were Health & Wellbeing, Enablement and Social Participation and Lifestyle. The real benefits behind the program have seen improvements in the mobility, dexterity and muscle strength in participating aged care residents, as well as providing a wonderful social opportunity for our residents to exercise with friends.
With the increasing number of new residents that enter residential aged care with low levels of strength, mobility and flexibility in their joints we really wanted to design a program that would give ‘quality of life’ and ‘independence’ back to our residents with some of the simplest of daily activities, such as rising to stand from a seated position.
“This exercise program is applicable for anyone of any level to engage in movement improved strength, dexterity, social experience, ultimately improving ones independence and reducing social isolation,” Laura said. “The engagement across all homes has been outstanding and this program continues to grow.”
Feedback has been extremely positive from residents, staff, family members and friends. Participating residents are not only enjoying training sessions and results with their range of motion and strength but a renewed social platform that forms the basis of new friendships for the residents.
A participating resident quotes “I really enjoy coming to the exercises classes. It helps loosen my joints and makes me more mobile. I really feel more independent. Without these classes I fear my mobility would decrease”.
Find out more about Hall & Prior.