Leaving the snow and the Blue Mountains behind us, we headed for Sydney. We were lucky enough to be there during Vivid Sydney – a fantastic evening laser light show which lit up the harbour building, the Bridge and the sails of the Opera House. What a spectacular feast for the eyes.
But I was there to work. I visited the Anglicare Elizabeth Lodge, the first AMI Montessori accredited senior facility in Australia. What a wonderful caring facility, with fully engaged staff. All have had Montessori training and all work as a coherent team to give the best care possible to their residents. While I was there I was fortunate enough to meet the visiting AMI group from London. What a knowledgeable group, and great contacts to have made. The Lodge itself has the overriding ethos of ‘the more I do for you, the more I steal from you’. Managed Risk and Resident Choice is at the forefront of the care they provide, ensuring that the resident is fully involved in all their care.
I found that very few of the residents were on thickened drinks and pureed food. This is a last resort for their SALT teams. They use exercise, positioning and are not as quick to resort to thickener unless the risk is unmanageable. This means that snacks and drinks are freely available for residents to help themselves. (I found this in the US too) Falls are managed more by keeping residents mobile and ‘strong’ rather than inactive. Nowhere is off limits, and residents are encouraged to do as much as they can for themselves. There is even a ‘Walk and talk’ carer who takes those who feel they ‘have to go somewhere’ for a walk to the nearby park.
The walls were utilised for activities that could be done by the residents, and everything was labeled with either instructions or conversation starters. the residents themselves, also took part in keeping the Lodge neat and tidy – laying tables, folding laundry and dusting were just some roles for them. All the residents seemed happy to be able to help out and help each other.
With our time coming to a close, we did our last bit of sightseeing to Botany Bay, Bondi beach (a damp squib) Manly and a trip out to the northern suburbs to catch up with old friends from Sowa. Russ managed to fit in a bit of spinning – he saw loads of fish in the ultra clear waters, but sadly none decided to bite.
A long but rewarding trip behind us, it was time to board the flights home. A 40hr journey via San Francisco which due to crossing the dateline involved 3 6ams! Our experiences with United Airlines again left something to be desired and we finally reached home exhausted and not sure what day or time our bodies thought it was! All in all, the experience was amazing, and I have learnt so much which I want to pass on to everyone working in the Care Sector. I have travelled to learn – now I return to inspire