A volunteer programme that has provided more than 400 hours of time for dying residents at an aged care facility in Auckland has won the New Zealand Aged Care Association/EBOS Healthcare Excellence in Care Awards for 2019.

The not-for-profit Mercy Parklands facility operated by the Sisters of Mercy offers its residents ‘No One Dies Alone’, a trained volunteer programme providing a compassionate, caring presence to dying residents in their final days, who may have otherwise died alone – unless by personal presence.

NZACA Chief Executive Simon Wallace says Mercy Parklands’ No One dies Alone, described as ‘heart-wrenching’ by judges, is a deeply moving programme providing residents with dignity and comfort at the end of life.

“With No One Dies Alone, residents, staff and volunteers are all part of life’s end journey. It is an exemplar of the work our sector does in not only providing care, but truly caring for our most vulnerable older people.”

The awards, announced at the NZACA/ASB Conference Gala Dinner on Wednesday, 23 October 2019, recognise excellence in care facilities and in individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the lives of the people they care for and those they work with.

“These awards are designed to showcase not just excellence, but the genuine commitment and dedication of our aged residential care providers in this extremely important role for New Zealand society.

“This year alongside a very high number of entries, the calibre of those entries has been very high and finding the winners involved many hours of judging.”

Mercy Parklands won two out of the eight categories in the awards, the QPS Benchmarking Innovative Delivery Award for No One Dies Alone; and the Jackson Van Interiors Built and Grown

Environment Award for construction of a walking and wheelchair pathway enabling residents and families safe access to the lovely gardens and trees surrounding the facility, situated on sloping land.

Other category winners include:

Invacare Small Operator Award: Lyndale Care Masterton – Supporting the Journey

This privately operated rest home in Masterton runs a programme that gives residents a highly personalised environment designed to help them feel at home, comfortable and supported by engaging and communal activities, including regular van outings to local attractions, games, happy hour and quizzes, arts and crafts, special events and community concerts.

Bidfood Excellence in food Award for Care Homes and Hospitals: Amberwood (Oceania Healthcare) Auckland – ‘Meal Service Excellence’

Judges said Amberwood’s programme “is a new era in dining experiences and enjoyment”, providing not only restaurant standard meals, but ensuring each resident is a friendly social time that is clam and respectful, with customer focused restaurant-style delivery.

Medi-Map Community Connections Award: Kapiti Retirement Trust – Kapiti Coast. Defeminising Aged Care: What about our blokes?

This is a unique programme shows that men in care are not forgotten and can contribute to the community. With 91% of staff employed in aged car being empathetic, committed women and 65% of those they care for female – the question was ‘What about the blokes?’. With more men entering its facility, and a number of willing male volunteers from the community, Kapiti Retirement Trust formed its Men’s Club with projects to date including restoring a coffee table, building bird boxes and recently, building rat traps for the Department of Conservation.

Arjo Training and Staff Development Award: Kiri Te Kanawa Retirement Village – Gisborne

Kiri Te Kanawa Retirement Village, the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) and Hauora Tairawhiti teamed up to develop a way to recognise the experience, knowledge and leadership of the Gisborne village‘s senior caregivers. 18 caregivers graduated with a NZ Certificate in health and Wellbeing Advanced Support, Level 4 at EIT. The course is designed to recognise the mana and work ethic of the women, their vast practical experience at providing the best of care and allowed them to add to their skills and leadership in the workplace.

Leecare Solutions Stand-out Individual Award: Resina Rakai, Anne-Maree Gardens Rest Home – Auckland

Judge’s comments: “Resina is a high achiever who has demonstrated that her role doesn’t just involve management and leadership, but pastoral care and community connections that go above and beyond the level of expectations.”

VCare Legendary Service to the Aged Residential Care Industry Award: Diana Triplow – Mary Doyle (Arvida Group) – Hastings

Judge’s comments: “Diana is an exemplar of transformational leadership’s five qualities of vision, inspiration, passion, energy and determination. With a big heart, clear mind and wicked sense of humour, Diana retired from her role as village manager at Mary Doyle earlier this year, leaving an inspirational and positive legacy in aged care.”

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