Little things colour the world of Henley Manor residents

It might be the blooms of colour planted in the new donated raised garden beds adorning the balconies of her home at Calvary Henley Manor that bring the most joy to resident Barbara Barnes.

More likely it is the fact she, and the other residents themselves, have had a say in identifying what is working well, what isn’t, and designing improvements where needed in their home.

“The garden gives me joy,” said 93-year-old Barbara, an avid knitter, grandmother of 34, and among the last 10-pound Poms to come to Australia.

“It’s beautiful to see flowers growing in a garden that came from an idea from one of us.”

“We talked about where the garden bed should be and how we were going to do it, and next thing I heard this ‘bang, bang, bang’ and (the maintenance staff) were putting the beds together and we were helping to plant the plants.”

Barbara and a group of other residents and staff at the home in Western Sydney participated in interviews, completed surveys, and took part in a series of facilitated co-design workshops to identify what is most important to them, and develop ways to improve.

Collage posters that now adorn the home’s bedroom doors were another idea put forward. The personalised posters help residents find their way around their home more easily. Importantly, they speak to some of the things that matter most to the individuals within, and are conversation starters that help residents and staff build relationships.

The PEARS Model of Care

Applying a co-design approach to cycles of continuous improvement is a core part of the new PEARS model of care, said Calvary’s Chief Medical Advisor and program sponsor Dr Tracey Tay.

PEARS, which stands for Personhood, Environment, Activity, Relationships and Safe Care, is being rolled out to more than 60 Calvary homes nationally.

“It is a principles-based approach that not only gives residents greater say in decision-making but agency to actively shape aspects of their care, experience and life in their aged care home,” Dr Tay said.

“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.

“Every home is different, the residents are different, the environments are different, and so the co-design process highlights different aspects or issues that we need to focus on,” Dr Tay said. “Sometimes the suggested changes might be major, but often it is seemingly little things that make a world of difference for our residents.”

The balcony gardens have been the start of an ongoing program of improvements suggested by residents at Henley Manor. 

The garden beds, along with some musical instruments, were purchased thanks to generous donations from a number of Calvary suppliers as part of a fundraising campaign to support vulnerable people in our communities.

Our thanks in particular to Handler Meats, Stoddart Group, AESG, and AJN Healthcare for caring and for your support for our aged care residents.