Catholic Homes is well placed to respond to the profound changes experienced by the aged care sector in recent times through its singular approach in how the organisation cares for its people: ‘Care with Purpose’.
A Royal Commission, a new industry regulator and rules, plus the uncertainty and discomfort brought by a pandemic, meant many in the aged care community had to step up to new challenges.
Catholic Homes’ Care with Purpose and Behaviour Support Advisor Kylie Choong says even in these turbulent times, older people remain at the centre of the organisation’s ministry where they can contribute and live a meaningful, fulfilled life of dignity and confidence.
“We encourage and support people to do as much as they can for themselves; to be engaged in activities, interests and hobbies that add value to their lives,” she said.
“Regardless of your age, circumstance or ability, Catholic Homes welcomes you and will encourage you to live your best life.”
The Care with Purpose model was introduced by the organisation several years ago, well ahead of the Federal Government’s consumer-led aged care standards that came into being in mid-2019.
Catholic Homes, which operates six aged care residences, four retirement villages and home care services, was developing its own “care innovation” model back in 2015.
This model combined the philosophies and teachings of Montessori Australia and Dementia Care Matters from the United Kingdom.
“The way we care is different from others, we can help you reach your goals by letting you make the choices and decisions about the things which matter to you,” Kylie said.
“We can achieve this with you through a deeper understanding of you as a person; and the people and things you love now as well as the life you’ve lived with its highs and lows.”
Care innovation subsequently evolved to become the organisation’s guiding Care with Purpose philosophy and practical approach to care with a special focus on people’s stories, abilities and their physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs.
A significant key to success was to make it easier for people, particularly those living with dementia or other cognitive impairments, to better understand and participate the world around them.
“At all our residences you will see name tags, signs, labels and clear information, inviting people to be involved, to do new things and develop new friendships,” Kylie said.
An important aspect of this approach is the invitation to participate: everyone can choose a job or a task, big or small, which enables them to be engaged and productive.
“Lounges and dining areas invite residents to join in, to take on a job as much they may prefer so that they are engaged and contributing,” Kylie said.
“Being active improves wellbeing and reduces boredom and isolation.
“As well as restoring function, helping around the home can improve confidence and self-esteem.”
Care with Purpose works just as well for those in their own homes and in the community, as it does for those living in residential care.
After hip replacement surgery several years ago, Freda Britchford had difficulty moving, gained weight and was virtually unable to walk.
As a member of a local over-55s club, Freda discovered Catholic Homes’ Day Therapy Centre in Guildford and decided to “give it a go”.
“I am walking so much better and I have no fear of falling at all because my legs are stronger,” she said.
“Now I am on a weight loss journey and an exercise journey and I feel so good!”
Freda visits Catholic Homes Day Therapy twice a week for arm and leg exercises plus workouts to boost her stamina.
All activities are designed with her by the Catholic Homes Wellness and Reablement Team to a care plan based on her goals and preferences.
“My ultimate goal is that I am going to be able to stay independent; and the more active I am, the stronger I am and the slimmer I am, I can move about better and it will last longer,” Freda said.
“I am 77 now and I hope to be doing it, you know, when I am 97!”