We're delighted to share with you some of our highlights from 2016-2017. Click through the below section to learn more about our highlights.
In March work commenced on the new Dovetree residential aged care community at Sinnamon Park. Dovetree will include a new 144- bed aged care home, including day and overnight respite services, a dementia day respite centre and new therapy centre. This new development, which will offer the community an additional 107 aged care places and a range of integrated respite and allied health services, is integral to the master planning of Sinnamon Village. Dovetree is set to open in 2018 and cater to the changing expectations of seniors seeking superior residential aged care.
Queensland State Minister for Local Government and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Mark Furner, joined us in March to launch our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). The launch was celebrated with an Indigenous art exhibition at the Art from the Margins studio in Fortitude Valley and featured the piece, ‘Beauty in Diversity’ by Luke Mallie, which has been created as part of our reconciliation journey.
The plan has been developed in consultation with Indigenous elders and staff and volunteers and contains practical initiatives that cement our commitment to grow our Indigenous workforce, increase cultural awareness in our workplaces and provide services and programs that are culturally sensitive and support the Indigenous community. Our RAP sits alongside our Strategic Plan and forms a public commitment to improve the way we engage, and work, with Indigenous people. It gives us a framework to examine what we can do as an organisation to lend our voice to positive change.
It was wonderful to welcome the Shadow Minister for Ageing, Julie Collins to officially open our newest residential aged care community, John Wesley Gardens in May. More than 200 guests gathered for this special occasion, with entertainment provided by a three piece string ensemble and the on-site chefs catering with an array of finger foods.
The new community includes 138 single, double and superior suites, a community café, hair salon, day spa, library, worship sanctuary and beautiful landscaped gardens set amongst the backdrop of the peaceful Downfall Creek Reserve.
Thanks to the generous corporate support of Sanctuary 7, four new apartments opened at our supported accommodation community at Coomera on the Gold Coast in early 2017. This allowed us to welcome four new younger residents living with high-care needs who would otherwise live in residential aged care communities or with ageing parents or carers. Each self-contained apartment contains a separate lounge, kitchen and dining area, and includes a bedroom, en-suite and balcony. Helen Emery, Manager Disability Accommodation Services, says the extension would not have been made possible without the support of Sanctuary 7. “We’re extremely grateful for the support we’ve received from this organisation over the years. They’ve been instrumental in creating the beautiful community and environment we have here at Youngcare Coomera through the donation of garden equipment, a modified vehicle, and now enabling us to build this extension,” she said
In late 2015 Art from the Margins (AFTM) developed a new creative concept designed to bring together professional Brisbane artist mentors and a selected group of AFTM emerging artists. After being awarded a Brisbane City Council Creative Sparks Grant in early 2016, the idea became a reality this year with the ‘Bright Sparks’ exhibition held at the Brisbane Institute Art in May. The exhibition was an innovative display of photography, sculpture and installations, including an impressive 3.7 metre goanna sculpture made of cane, bamboo and wire created by AFTM’s artist Jeff Blunt, in collaboration with mentor Tony Rice.
It was a momentous occasion in October 2016 when Queensland’s only children’s hospice, Hummingbird House, officially opened. As a joint initiative of Hummingbird House Foundation and Wesley Mission Queensland, Hummingbird House is free of charge for families who need it, for as long as they need it. Since operations commenced, more than 50 families have accessed the services with over 200 admissions. Hummingbird House provides short break stays, family support services, creative therapies, and care at the end of life for children with life-limiting conditions, and their families. We are deeply grateful to our corporate and philanthropic partners, who are helping Hummingbird House to take flight.
ParentsNext is an Australian Government initiative run by Wesley Mission Queensland in Beenleigh. The program supports parents with children between the ages of six months and six years to return to work once their child reaches primary school age. This early intervention program aims to break the cycle of long-term welfare dependency, help parents identify and achieve education and employment goals, and reconnect with local services and the community. This year 470 parents have been involved with the program, with 147 entering in to education.
The ParentsNext program operates from our Beenleigh Family Centre, which provides a range of holistic support services for families in the area. More than 50 parents and children attend the centre each week for programs such as: parenting courses, fitness programs, play group and resources.
In late March, ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie affected much of the east coast of Queensland, including significant flooding in many of the areas in which we work in Logan and the northern Gold Coast. To support families in the area, and to coincide with Youth Week, we held a family fun day that saw 15 organisations and charities work together to support the local community with food, fun activities and essential household items. The event was a true testimony to community partnerships and collaborative practice that is common in the region.
In December 2016 we secured development approval for a new retirement living community at Sinnamon Village. Rosemount Retirement Community will offer residents luxury living with 135 architecturally designed apartments, a café, cinema, heated swimming pool, gym, community bus and library in a secure environment. Residents will be able to enjoy all the benefits of the site, including the wellness centre and hydrotherapy pool, dementia day respite centre and residential aged care communities, should their care needs change.
Wesley Mission Queensland supports more than 6,500 older people each year with care in the home and community, home maintenance, community transport and therapy, respite and wellness programs. All our services successfully transitioned to the Federal Government’s changes in home care packages, which took effect from February. This new Consumer Directed Care (CDC) approach supports clients and their carers to manage their own funding package, choose their provider, and decide which home care services they receive and how they are designed and delivered. For providers, this is a significant transition with the focus now on the customer journey and attracting and retaining customers, rather than funding streams delivered to the provider as in the past.
We have supported our existing clients through this transition and made significant changes to the structure of our home care packages and Customer Support Centre to meet the needs of new and existing clients. Our Customer Support Centre, located on the Wheller Gardens site at Chermside, is now the central point of contact for all new customers, with knowledgeable staff able to quickly assist people with their enquiries and link them to our comprehensive range of multidisciplinary services. This centre is open to the public five days a week to allow prospective clients the opportunity to discuss their care needs face to face. Our trusted and person-centred care approach enables us to adapt to these reforms while maintaining the high expectations of our clients.
Our Career Keys Registered Training Organisation continues to provide a pipeline of highly qualified staff to key areas of the organisation. More than 100 Personal Care trainees from Career Keys have been employed with Wesley Mission Queensland in the past year. Career Keys has a long history of providing training to those most in need and currently collaborates with Holy Cross Laundry, SWARA and our Mailpaq service, offering education for people living with a disability.
Residents in our residential aged care communities are enjoying their new private kitchens and the ability to bake for friends and families or enjoy a cooking activity with staff. All 13 residential aged care communities now have kitchens that residents can access as a self-serve buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all at the time of their choosing. This new model of food service across our homes has empowered residents to make their own decisions about their meals and allows the on-site chefs to cater for individual needs.
The warm, sticky smell of the raspberry jam simmering on the stove evokes lots of memories for Emmaus resident, Betty James. “I used to make so much jam. I was a keen cook, particularly biscuits, cakes and tarts. I loved cooking for my three girls and their friends and seeing them enjoy eating it,” she said. Leisure and Lifestyle Coordinator at Emmaus aged care community, Bronwyn Dawe, says cooking is one of the most popular activities she organises for residents. “We have emulated the beautiful memories of a Sunday night roast with the family; the residents loved the smell of chicken wafting through the home, and we have made scones, decorated cakes and cooked pizzas. Whatever the residents enjoy or suggest we try and accommodate,” she said.
The Logan Youth Foyer Support Service provides transitional, supported accommodation for young people in the Logan region who are aged 16-25 years of age and working with Wesley Mission Queensland to gain support and participate in earning and/or learning options.
This year the program supported 41 young adults with accommodation and employment or education.
The Brisbane Relief Hub in Fortitude Valley operates our Emergency Relief Service and the Community Meal providing a network of services and support for people experiencing disadvantage.
This year Emergency Relief provided more than 52,000 occasions of service.
This included the distribution of more than:
This year Community Meal has provided approximately 440 meals per week over the four days of its operations, totalling more than 22,000 meals a year. The very popular Community Meal Christmas Day lunch is one of the biggest in Brisbane and is now run on two sites – Wesley House in Brisbane City and the Brisbane Relief Hub. In 2016 more than 330 individuals were served a traditional three-course Christmas feast and presented with a gift with the help of 80 volunteers.
Residents at many of our residential aged care communities have visited the snow, been deep sea diving and enjoyed theatrical performances, all without leaving the comfort of their armchairs, thanks to the magic of virtual reality. For the past 12 months this exciting new technology, which uses a smart phone, goggles and bluetooth headphones, has been trialled at some of our aged care communities with fantastic results, particularly for residents living with dementia.
Director of Residential Aged Care, Annie Gibney, says it brings a 360 degree immersive experience to the resident and allows them to simply be ‘in the moment’. “People living with dementia can struggle to focus or maintain an interest in things, but with these headsets on, they can be immersed in an experience. They don’t have to read anything, and if they look away, they just find something new to look at instead,” she said.
“We’ve seen some of our residents reaching up to catch snowflakes, with big smiles on their faces. Some of them have commented that they’d never been to the snow before; for them, the experience feels very real.” With further community support we hope to roll-out this technology across all our aged care homes.
Asher House residents, families, staff and volunteers enjoyed an 80s themed fluro dance party to celebrate their first birthday in July. The supported accommodation community in Brisbane’s East is home to 12 residents living with acquired brain injuries, and since opening in July 2016, staff have been on a quest to give the residents new experiences and a purposeful life in an empowered environment. Manager, Garry Buckton, said there have been many milestones to celebrate in the first year.
“For a lot of the residents, this is their first experience of a model of social care rather than clinical care, and having the opportunity to develop and progress in their own way has been amazing for them,” he said.
“This is a home for our residents and it’s essential we remember this in everything we do or try to achieve.”
Residents have enjoyed local music events, sailing, bowling, shopping and many activities that individually focus on an expressed need or interest from a resident or family, such as the opportunity to access hydrotherapy or a gym.
Jacobs Court residents have made a great connection with children from the nearby Creative Garden Early Learning Centre at Sinnamon Park. Resident Patrick Passfield introduced himself to the children as he walked past each morning and one day invited them for a visit. In May the children started visiting fortnightly for play dates. The residents enjoy showing the children their recently renovated garden, complete with a fairy garden and aviary. Jacobs Court Manager, Jean Yan said the residents love interacting with the children.
“Many of our residents have grandchildren and great-grandchildren who they might not see very often, so the visits from the children are a highlight for them,” she said. “It’s a very important part of our Eden Alternative™ philosophy of care that residents have opportunities to socialise with children and enjoy spontaneous moments of laughter, banter and learning together.”
Group61 is a volunteer mental health befriending program offering support and friendship to people who are experiencing social isolation due to their mental health experience. Members of the program, known as Friends, are connected with a volunteer befriender and they meet regularly to go on an outing or do an activity together – this may be going for a walk or a coffee or to the movies. The purpose is to provide social connection through friendship and to support our friends as they re-establish themselves in their local community.
The group has had a busy year transitioning to the Wesley Mission Queensland family, with highlights including:
The Gap Child Care Centre has been working closely with children and families to develop a nature play program. As a joint project between educators and families, staff have gained permission to access land at The Gap Uniting Church campus next door to create a community garden and place for the children to play in natural learning environments. The centre has also been active in their community building relationships and experiences with local groups to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into their learning program.
Toowong Child Care Centre was recognised as a Queensland Finalist for Australian Children’s Service of the Year in the Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards. The centre runs a unique program for Deaf and hearing impaired children. “The whole point of this program is to help children who are Deaf or hearing impaired to live a normal, happy life,” says Angeles Stark, Toowong Child Care Centre Director. “These children join in with our regular program alongside everyone else; the only difference is they have an adult (an Auslan Language Model, or ‘ALM’) with them to interpret. It makes such a difference to a child if you can communicate with them in their own language and show that you care enough to learn.”
Thanks to State and Council grant funding we were able to make significant upgrades to our Family Day Care playground at the Ashgrove head office. This beautiful landscaped area is now enjoyed regularly by all local carers for playgroups. In June our staff and children from the Ashgrove Dance Studio welcomed their local member and the Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Commonwealth Games, The Hon Kate Jones to a special morning tea at the Ashgrove offices. Ms Jones toured the new offices and playground and spent time chatting with staff about raising the profile of the service in the region.