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Uniting celebrates inspiring aged care staff

Winners of the annual Inspired Care Carol Penning Awards announced

Uniting has again recognised many of its outstanding staff at the organisation’s annual Inspired Care Carol Penning Awards. Now in their seventh year, the awards are named in honour of the late Uniting leader Carol Penning.

“Carol Penning was an inspiration to the people she cared for and worked with, she embodied person-centred care. She believed that if you commit to truly knowing people, offering them the space and hospitality to be themselves, they will soar,” said Linda Justin, Uniting Practice and Quality Director.

‘Inspired care’ is the Uniting approach to aged care. It is a person-centred approach that creates homes – not institutions – for residents. The awards recognise leadership of inspired care and the delivery of inspired care by individual staff members, teams and volunteers.

This year’s awards celebrate staff whose work has helped create homes and change lives. The team at Uniting Illowra Waverley won an award for going through major transition together and coming out the other side stronger than ever, committed to making Illowra a real home and community.

Sherrilyn Colclough, a firm favourite with residents at Annesley House, won in the volunteer category. She assists with the leisure and lifestyle program, and after listening to what people wanted, she initiated a popular beading workshop for residents.

“Small acts bring safety and comfort, provide normality and seek to support meaning and purpose on a daily basis for our clients. Our inspired staff seek out opportunities to deliver care in innovative and creative ways every day, honouring the inherent dignity in each person,” said Ms Justin.

A list of award recipients follows:

Leadership - Debra Smith, Service Manager, Uniting Caroona Yamba

From the moment Deb walked into Yamba, residents knew their world was changing for the better. Her compassion, the social justice she aims for and her resolute determination to make every day count for each person that calls Caroona Yamba home has made a significant difference. With her calm, reassuring, unwavering manner, Debra epitomises inspired leadership.

Delivery- Lorraine Harding, Care Coordinator, Uniting Caroona Yamba

Lorraine is an essential part of the Caroona Yamba team. She is an inspirational person who has a passion for helping others and for empowering people to be the best they can be. Her knowledge of residents, family and staff is invaluable and she consistently offers additional support to those around her without being asked. No job is too hard. She is deeply committed to Uniting and embodies its philosophy.

Team - Uniting Illowra Waverley

Illowra is no longer a facility, it’s a home. It all started when staff attended a two-day workshop that introduced them to the Household Model and challenged assumptions about current care practices. Everyone embraced the challenge to make Illowra a real home for its residents. The team began placing the resident at the centre of decision-making to meet their needs, which meant learning each other’s roles, such as care team to kitchen hand and vice a versa. Now residents can ask any staff member for help as they are happy to assist in all jobs.

Volunteer - Sherrilyn Colclough, Uniting Annesley House Leichhardt

Sherrilyn assists with the leisure and lifestyle program and puts 100 per cent into everything she does. She has become a part of every resident’s family. She brings in items of personal interest for them and works to engage them in new and unique experiences. When one resident expressed an interest in learning how to make her own beaded jewellery, Sherrilyn brought in the tools and equipment to teach her. They began a beading workshop where together they taught other residents.

Beyond these awards, Uniting programs and staff have been recognised in a raft of industry-wide awards including the prestigious Australian Aged Care Quality Agency Better Practice Awards.

Carol Penning believed that if you commit to truly knowing people, offering them the space and hospitality to be themselves, if you enable people to express themselves and to be heard, and to interact and participate in their communities, you provide them with the opportunity to defy the commonly accepted limitations of their physical attributes. Carol believed in our people, and the importance of investing in education, evaluation of practice, and evidence-based research. Carol’s passion, compassion and knowledge have made a lasting impact on Uniting, including strongly influencing the Uniting INSPIRED CARE journey.