A mobile social club targeting rural and remote clients, a community garden fostering intergenerational connections, and a staff development program to implement CDC were among the innovative community care programs recognised at this year’s Better Practice Awards announced today.

This was the first year that home care services have been included in the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency’s annual awards.

Gwen Latham and Ruth Forbes at the UnitingCare's community garden in Nambucca Heads
Gwen Latham and Ruth Forbes at the UnitingCare’s community garden in Nambucca Heads

Announcing the 31 winners at the Better Practice conference today, Quality Agency CEO Nick Ryan said the awards recognised excellence in aged services and showcased ideas for innovation across the sector.

The inclusion of home care programs for the first time aimed to give greater visibility to better practice from these services, Mr Ryan said.

Among the programs recognised was a social support, meal and transport program delivered by Accessible Living Options in Bathurst, NSW to clients living in rural communities.

The social outings provided an opportunity for older people to build community networks, access information and speakers from local services and take part in activities such as singing and exercise.

Aged men living alone were targeted with the support of male volunteers to gently ease them into the program to support their independence and community participation.

UnitingCare NSW/ACT’s mid north coast community service picked up a gong for its community garden in Nambucca Heads that aims to provide a site for intergenerational experiences.

Features of the garden include dementia friendly garden paths and garden benches.

Other winners included The Benevolent Society, recognised for its organisational leadership and staff development project which involved 300 staff to prepare for CDC. The project set up a steering group, staff champions and customer discussion groups to guide training and engage both staff and clients in the changes, with positive results.

Read about all the winning programs at the Quality Agency’s website.

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