Calvary puts Launceston residents in driver’s seat to improve aged care

In a first for Calvary in Australia, residents at Calvary Riverside Views in Launceston are co-designing aspects of their care, experience and life in their aged care home.

Calvary’s Chief Medical Advisor Dr Tracey Tay said the pioneering co-design work underway at the home is a core part of the new Calvary PEARS model of care, which will ultimately be rolled out to more than 60 Calvary homes nationally.

Developing the PEARS Model

Residents participated in interviews and observational studies, completed surveys, and joined staff in a series of co-design workshops to identify what is most important to them, what is working well and what could be improved. They have also been integral to developing ideas and setting priorities.

“At Calvary, we are taking a fresh approach that is very organic, is designed to improve residents experience and outcomes, and will establish a consistent culture of care across all of our homes across the country,” Dr Tay said.

“We are listening to our residents and families and working with them to design solutions and improvements where they believe things can be done differently or better. It is about providing respectful and dignified care for older people that gives them control and choice, and highlights the importance of relationships, connection to community, and a desire for a good quality life.”

“I would like to feel that I have contributed to the life of this place…”

Resident Colin Douglas was delighted to have the opportunity to be involved and contribute his ideas.

“Coming in as a new resident, it was a real culture shock not having to do anything,” said Colin, who entered care along with Irene, his wife of more than 60 years. “All of a sudden you don’t have to do the washing up, you don’t have to cook a meal, or do the laundry. It sort of leaves you feeling a bit adrift, or it did to me.”

One of Colin’s suggestions was getting residents more actively involved and giving them the opportunity to help run appropriate parts of the home, such as the library.

“I would like to feel that, in some way, I have contributed to the life of this place, rather than just living in it. I want to be a real part of it.”

Riverside Views Home Manager Sarah Chong said that as well as having meaningful activities, residents had highlighted strengthening personal connections with each other and staff, having a quality dining experience, and acknowledging and celebrating the lives of residents who had died as among the most important matters to them.

“Some of the things that have come up have simple, practical solutions and some we are already putting in place – like having staff name badges and meal menus in bigger fonts, or bringing back proper tablecloths and salt and pepper shakers, which were removed during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the strict infection control measures needed at the time,” Ms Chong said.

Connecting with our wider community

Others ideas, like more outings in the community, bringing the community into the home, or encouraging volunteers to come back after the pandemic, might be more costly or take time but will be part of the improvement plan the home will be working towards.

“The experience of people living in Calvary Riverside Views and Calvary homes everywhere can provide valuable insights into what works well, what doesn’t, and what is most important to the residents themselves,” Dr Tay said.

“We will be taking what we have learned here in Launceston and applying it at our other homes around the country to build individual, tailored solutions for our residents, wherever they are,” Dr Tay said.


Find out more

Visit the Calvary’s PEARS Model of Care page for more information, or read the opinion editorial from Calvary Chief Medical Advisor Dr Tracey Tay, as she discusses he development and how this truly resident-centred approach will become the standard model of care across Calvary aged care homes.