Empowering Independence: Bolton Clarke’s Easy Living Bags initiative

Bolton Clarke's Easy Living Bags initiative - some of the samples included in the bags

2023 Future of Ageing Awards winner of the Restorative/Reablement category.

Bolton Clarke’s Easy Living Equipment initiative addresses the need for increased independence among at-home support clients through the provision of low-cost, readily available items. The initiative involves empowering and training employees with “easy living bags” to improve awareness of simple equipment supporting daily activities. Nurses, personal care workers, and occupational therapists are equipped to assess opportunities for clients, demonstrate aids, and implement supports. This initiative aims to enable clients to maintain independence with simple, supportive tools.

The initiative includes a comprehensive demonstration equipment kit or “easy living bag” that comprises 20+ products, including pick-up sticks, shoe horns, modified cutlery, a can opener, tap and key turners, and more. Specialised kits for occupational therapists cater to assessments and demonstrations for equipment that requires fitting.

Why it came about

Research cites the importance of individuals’ ability to perform tasks independently, with aids playing a significant role. Bolton Clarke’s wellness and reablement team investigated a consistent approach to provide clients with information supporting greater independence. This initiative targets vision impairment, dexterity issues, cognitive impairment, and other conditions, addressing simple yet impactful challenges faced by those aging at home.

How it works

Bolton Clarke’s clinical staff and care workers facilitate access to easy living equipment through various channels. New At Home Support employees in Queensland and Victoria receive training during orientation, emphasising the use of bags and flip cards in a wellness and reablement approach.

The initiative incorporates training videos, assessment checklists, and A5 flip cards for ongoing client conversations. Discussions and demonstrations help clients determine the most suitable equipment.

The fundraising team covers the cost of Easy Living Bags, seeking additional funding for program expansion. Clients can directly purchase equipment through suppliers if they choose to do so.

Who was involved

The initiative was conceived by Bolton Clarke’s Wellness and Reablement team and further developed in collaboration with the Melbourne At Home Support, Occupational Therapists, and Clinical Nurse Consultants.

“Such an innovative idea, empowering staff to empower clients”

2023 Future of Ageing Awards judge

Evidence of success

The initiative has demonstrated significant success in supporting clients to stay independent using simple, inexpensive assistive items. Examples include tactile Velcro dots aiding vision-impaired clients in way-finding and tablet timers assisting with medication prompting. Positive feedback from team members reflects the impact on clients’ lives and their ability to access necessary support.

Bolton Clarke aims to secure additional funding for expanding the Easy Living Bags program nationally. Plans include improving training modules, negotiating better prices with suppliers, and potentially developing a digital platform or app to complement the initiative.

Why it won

The success of Easy Living Bags demonstrates the importance of a holistic, person-centred approach to care. Collaboration between different teams, ongoing training, flexibility in customisation, and client empowerment are key factors in the initiative’s success.


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