Focusing on the tiny moments
Back in 2012, Arcare set out to improve the way it provided services and support to older Australians. We held many focus groups and individual interviews with clients, team members and families. We simply asked, ‘What makes life worth living in, working in or visiting our residential communities?’
After spending almost six months just listening to the answers to this candid question, we gathered together all of the responses our community had shared. In doing so, the focus for our improvement plan became clear.
We needed to turn our attention to the quality of the relationships in our communities. In particular, we needed to focus on the tiny, day-to-day interactions between team members and clients – the real-world spaces where relationships develop and deepen.
Some of those tiny moments in Parkview
It has been quite a journey for us all since then, and we have very much been laying a path while walking so we can quickly adapt and improve as we learn and experience together. However, throughout the journey, our ‘true north’ – our commitment to supporting, nurturing and prioritising the development of relationships characterised by humanness, trust, reciprocity and love – has remained constant. And because of this, we have inadvertently created a unique space for ourselves in the aged-care industry and have been asked to share our approach widely, both nationally and internationally.
‘Good citizens look after one another. And the people here manage that.’ Our relationship-focused approach to building aged care communities is unique and was recognised with a Federal Government Better Practice Award in 2015′
The next step we are taking on this path together is acknowledging the responsibility of each team member to become a client advocate, taking the relationship between client and team member to an even more profound level. This involves a commitment to act in solidarity with clients to ensure that they enjoy the same rights as other citizens. It’s a commitment to recognise that just because a person changes their address or is given a particular diagnosis, they do not lose any of their human, legal, civic or consumer rights. This acknowledgement means our team members gain an even deeper awareness of the inherent humanness of each client, and understand that vulnerable citizens need extra support in order to experience the same rights and inclusion as everyone else.
Arcare team members are called upon to consider their own attitudes and beliefs, to ensure that each of their tiny, day-to-day interactions with residents become powerful spaces in which each client’s inherent humanness, right to inclusion and self-determination are nurtured and protected.
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