A small community rest home from Southland took out the top prize at the NZACA/EBOS Excellence in Care Awards at last night’s NZACA conference gala dinner.

A small facility punching well above its weight, Wyndham and Districts Community Rest Home punched higher still as it was awarded not only the Small Operator Industry Award but the EBOS Overall Award for Excellence in Care.

The home has come a long way. Twenty years ago it was in danger of closing, but the community rallied and raised the money to rescue it; it is now run by a volunteer board.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” said manager Annette Sinclair, upon receiving the award.

That journey has seen the home go from a two year certification to a four year certification in the space of a year – something that is relatively unheard of in the sector, and a testament to the quality of care delivered. The most recent audit revealed six areas of continuous improvement.

With grants the home has invested in laptops for the residents and it attracted the support of local school kids to help residents use the new technology. Among other initiatives to assist with residents’ health, they’ve established MediMap and a falls reduction programme. And the home’s garden is clearly a source of pride and joy for staff and residents alike.

The conference attendees also rose to their feet to honour the standout individual effort of Aditi Arora and the legendary service of both Cecily Munro and Noeline Whitehead.

Daughter Amy accepted the award on behalf of Cecily.

“We work on the simple premise that we treat our staff and residents how we like to be treated ourselves,” she says of the care delivered at Malyon House in Mount Maunganui.

Noelene’s message was to encourage young nurses to pursue aged care and “be proud of what you do”.

But the biggest cheer of the night went to Robyn Gray, in recognition of her many years of service to the NZACA as she prepares to retire.

The awards acknowledged some excellent examples of great care and service delivered throughout the sector.

Oceania’s Wharerangi facility took home the Bidvest Excellence in Food Award in recognition of its “dine at home” concept. The home’s chef Adriano Lopez was clearly moved to receive the award.

“Everyday I look forward to coming to work and creating the magic,” he said.

The MediMap Community Connections award went to Village at the Park, for its intergenerational iPlayed programme which saw children and residents interacting.

Metlifecare’s Greenwich Gardens Care Home took the Jackson van Interiors Built and Grown Environments award for its household concept.

The Arjo Training and Staff Development award went to Iona Enliven in recognition of its Connecting Cultures programme, which was heralded in an earlier panel discussion at the conference about diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“If we don’t get it right with our staff then our residents suffer,” said manager Stephanie Leith upon receiving the award.

It was no surprise that the QPS Benchmarking Innovative Delivery award went to Oceania’s Lady Allum Rest Home. Its finalist video entry of their virtual reality initiative moved some of the audience to tears as they witnessed residents overcome with emotion at seeing grandchildren and places they’d always dreamed of visiting through the help of virtual reality headsets.

Programmes and initiatives like this are just a snapshot of some of the excellent work that’s being done across the sector. A record number of entries were received for the Excellence in Care awards this year.

NZACA chief executive Simon Wallace says the calibre of entries this year was extremely high, providing judges with a difficult task.

“We need to celebrate the very good job we do with the stretched resources that we have in looking after 36,000 New Zealanders,” says Wallace.

Caption: Wyndham & Districts Community Rest Home manager Annette Sinclair accepts the Overall Excellence in Care Award while MC Kerre McIvor looks on.

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