‘Delivering quality services’: InnovAgeing awards highlight fresh ideas in the aged care industry

Head of innovAGEING, Merlin Kong

People working to improve aged care from within the sector have been highlighted ahead of this year’s InnovAgeing awards.

Announcing the finalists in this year of unprecedented change, Head of Australia’s National Innovation Network for the Age Services Industry, InnovAgeing, Merlin Kong said the contenders were focused on reshaping the sector for ageing well in Australia.

“Every one of these innovations is about change, giving people what they want, being more productive and delivering quality services,” Mr Kong said.

“This has been an extremely successful nomination round and it is heartening to see this happening because innovation is specific to organisations and their challenges and what they are trying to achieve to be the best.”

The awards, to be announced on November 26, acknowledge the hard work within the sector amid the challenges.

“When we look at growing older in the best way – with the various government reforms at play, the technology available to us at the moment and changing service demands and productivity pressures – innovation is critically important,” Mr Kong said.

“Innovation touches on everything that the sector is going through, as we work to spread excellence and transformation, to cement Australia as a world leader in better ageing.”

InnovAgeing is an Australian Government-funded national aged services network aimed at accelerating innovation, translating ideas into outcomes and improving overall service delivery.

Finalists across six categories include productivity measures to use technology to reduce administration hours and boost personal care time, preventing injuries through AI models and internet of things; and tools to allow individualised healthcare choices.

The role of dynamic individuals is also being showcased, with a new Innovator of the Year Award for entrepreneurs working outside the sector and within the industry.

“After last year’s inaugural awards, it became clear there was an opportunity to recognise specific high achievers, showcasing the individual innovators who shine in the age services sector,” Mr Kong said.

“One of the key motivators for innovAGEING is to showcase innovation in the sector and highlight and communicate these across the country.”

Nominees for the individual award are April Creed and Rebecca Glover, ExSitu with Illawarra Retirement Trust (IRT) for their work on the company’s advanced care planning platform and leading others in its use; Calvary Care’s Colin McDonnell for taking up digital tools with Leef Independent Living Solutions to support people living with dementia across its 14 residential care facilities in NSW, ACT, and SA; Doreen Power from Lyndoch Living Limited for changing the operation’s philosophy and model of care and Southern Cross Care’s Kate Weger in establishing the Wound Champion Program to prevent and manage injuries and improve quality of life.

Categories were focused on outcomes for residents, families and across the system, with a focus on person-centred care.

In enhancing consumer experience, finalists are the Guide Healthcare Allied Health Team with Eventide Homes Stawell, the Illawarra Retirement Trust, SilVR Adventures with St Joseph’s Aged Care (Lismore), and UnitingCare Queensland.

In the improving consumer choice category, ExSitu with IRT, Lyndoch Living Limited, The Moove & Groove Program with Uniting (NSW & ACT) and Uniting Communities were recognised for their range of programs.

Increasing care and productivity finalists are ECH, Jindalee Aged Care, Lyndoch Living Limited, PosiSense with St. Sergius Aged Care and Villa Maria Catholic Homes. Their projects included codifying clinical processes, and incorporating technology in small group settings.

An app to create a new care channel from the IRT Group, initiatives for the aged care needs of Forgotten Australians and Care Leavers from Helping Hand Aged Care, and an extension of person-controlled advance care planning documents from ExSitu with IRT are finalists for increasing access to care and services.

Finally, for realising wellness and reablement, ACH Group’s Smart Technology service, ADDSI Limited and YourLink’s Digital Connection and Connect with Tech programs, Guide Healthcare with BUPA Calwell and BUPA Stirling’s Get Up Guide Program, Benetas’ Positive Ageing Tool, and PresCare and Conpago’s healthcare and social supports to rural and isolated communities are all finalists.

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