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  • Working at SwanCare: Our People Reflect on their Experiences
    Wed 14 Aug 2019

    From left to right: Velvet Barrett, Jake Dyer, Sue (Shuhao) Yang, Marie Dadson, Dana Wilkinson, Jovy Tesani, Satish Kumar, Rachel Giancaspro, Zoran Pusaric, and Debra Mitchell.

    This Friday until Sunday (August 16-18 2019), SwanCare will be at WA’s largest Careers and Employment Event, the SkillsWest Careers Expo. Isabella and Priska from our People and Culture Team will be meeting hundreds of students, graduates, job seekers and professionals to discuss career pathways here at SwanCare.

    In preparing for SkillsWest, we reached out to our SwanCare team across all skill sets and facilities to share some insights about their role. Here’s what they said:


    Velvet Barrett (Activities Officer)

    What does teamwork mean to you?

    “Teamwork means there’s no such thing as, ‘That's not a part of my job.’ You help where you can and in return, others help you. The concept of treating others how you’d like to be treated is important to everything we do. We stick by each other and help each other out in any situation. No one is left behind.”


    What makes you smile at SwanCare?

    “The best part of my day is seeing the residents who I haven't seen for a while. It’s wonderful to see the smile on their face when they recognise us. I enjoy sitting with them and chatting for a little bit longer because this has a positive impact on their day.”


    Sathish Kumar (Head Chef)

    How can you be creative in your role?  

    “A common misconception is that an aged care menu has to be bland and ‘pureed’. When it comes to care, few people consider the role of hospitality staff. In catering for residents, we have many restrictions - but this doesn’t mean we have to compromise on flavour and quality. I look into various ways I can cater for our residents, who can have many dietary restrictions. I incorporate different cuisines when creating menus and try to set delicious trends in aged care meals. I am very proud that we deliver great food, which is healthy and made with quality ingredients.”


    What advice would you give to others in hospitality, who may or may not consider working in Aged Care?

    “Before working in aged care, I was very anxious as I was not sure what to expect. I worried that my ability to create various dishes would be put on hold and I would be stuck in a routine. After joining SwanCare, I realised that aged care is like any other hospitality industry. In fact, it is even more special as we deliver food to our residents in their home. At the end of the day, it comes down to the skill and passion of the chef and how we use our opportunity. If you’re considering working in aged care, treat your residents as you would any other customers and provide them with quality food. If you do this, it will be a very satisfying role.”


    Marie Dadson (Food Service Attendant)

    What do you enjoy most about your role?

    “The best thing is being with the residents and ensuring they are happy with their meals. I work with residents to help them change their meal if they’d prefer a different option. They know I want them to be happy with their meals.”


    What have you learned during your time at SwanCare?

    “It takes a lot of people to look after our residents! From meals, laundry and carers, to nurses and everyone behind the scenes. There are opportunities in Aged Care that people may not be aware of.”


    Sue (Shuhao) Yang  (Physiotherapist Assistant)  

    Can you please share a memory from your time at SwanCare?

    “My favourite memory at SwanCare is the day I signed the contract as a physiotherapy assistant. After five years as a carer, my current goal is to keep studying and gain more skills. I’ll soon have the opportunity to apply for a different role once I complete my certificate. At SwanCare, you should be always ready for a new opportunity and challenge because SwanCare will give you the stage.”

     Could you please describe how it feels to work at SwanCare?

    “Like many immigrants, I’ve had a bit of a language barrier. Because of this, sometimes I felt nervous and didn’t have much confidence. But at SwanCare, I’ve received so much support over the last seven years from my manager, supervisors and colleagues.”

    Jovy Tesani (Manager Care Services Kingia and Tandara Care Facility)

    What are the essential qualities of a leader?

    “Being a manager does not automatically mean you are a good leader. In my view, a good leader is someone who leads by example and is a good listener. They give staff the opportunity to grow. Learning from your own mistakes is another important quality of being a good leader. It’s someone who treats everyone with respect regardless of who that person is, and who is always willing to lend a helping hand.”

    What advice would you give to others looking to pursue leadership in an aged care environment?

    “Not everyone is given the chance to work in an aged care environment. Being of service to vulnerable adults is a privilege. You must be equipped with sufficient knowledge, relevant skills, useful tools and virtues before setting your foot on board to become a leader in aged care. You must be ready to accept challenges, treat all stakeholders with dignity and respect, and assist and support your employees. In doing so, everyone will follow your lead.”

    Are you a student, parent, graduate, job seeker or a professional searching for a meaningful career change? Come down to SkillsWest Careers Expo this weekend and come and say ‘Hi’ to Isabella and Priska from the People and Culture team. Chat to us about careers in aged care and ask us about the career opportunities with the opening of our new Ningana facility.

    Perth SkillsWest Careers Expo – SwanCare Booth

    Presented by: Isabella and Priska from the People and Culture Team, SwanCare

    When:  Fri 9-3, Sat 10-4 & Sun 10-4

    To submit an expression of interest form, click here.

    For more information on SkillsWest expo, click here

  • Rejoice for Respite
    Tue 06 Aug 2019

    The dictionary defines respite as “a pause or rest from something difficult” – which is exactly what carers and dependents need from time to time. SwanCare Waminda offers a room within the permanent care area just for this purpose – a short-term respite stay. The space can be used for people who live inside or outside of the village and provides carers with a much-needed break and peace of mind that their loved one will be in great hands.

    Sometimes there can be a stigma on reaching for respite, but we don’t believe there should be.

    “Carers often put off their holidays, appointments, and even surgery to suit their dependant,” says SwanCare’s Resident Support Coordinator, Heather Laws. “It is very important for the carer’s physical and mental health to get away or have some down time without the stress that comes with being a carer.

    “Respite also gives an insight into permanent care and usually takes away any fears to do with care facilities – it is actually a nice place to be,” Heather said.

    The respite resident is offered a chance to get involved in various activities and to meet and chat to many new faces.  Depending on their condition, they are welcome to come and go with family members too – just as long as they’re back for medication times.

    Judith (Judy) and William (Bill) Mackintosh have recently utilised SwanCare’s respite service and highly recommend the experience.

    Judy and Bill have lived an amazing life raising three wonderful daughters as well as a lifetime of worldly travels. Now their age has caught up with them it makes it tough to travel, and with a line in the sand Bill is now no longer able to enjoy overseas travel.

    Judy and Bill moved into their SwanCare home in 2006 after being on a wait list for 10 years! “We were very particular about which home we wanted – two bedrooms, east facing – so we were happy to wait as long as it took” said Bill. “My Mother, Father, and two Aunties lived at SwanCare long before we lived here and we saw first-hand how good the facilities were – it only seemed natural to live here ourselves when the time came” Judy said. 

    Judy recently booked a trip away and was unsure if Bill would remember to do everything he needed as he was quite sick.

    “Respite allows me peace of mind while I’m away knowing Bill will have all of his medications, night-time care if it is needed, three delicious meals per day, and that he is happy!” said Judy.

    Bill agrees.

    “The meals are really nice, we even get them delivered to our home when we have a particularly busy week socially,” Bill said. “I actually look forward to going into respite as I know Judy enjoys going on holidays and it’s a change of scenery for me – I enjoy the bingo, the singalongs, and the outings my daughters take me on. This time one of the outings was Bunnings, my favorite shop!”

    When Bill was well enough he even went back home to water his plants and check phone messages.


    Judy and Bill Mackintosh have recently utilised SwanCare’s respite service and highly recommend the experience.


    “Waminda staff are very good and they asked all sorts of questions about diet, medications and what kind of care he required before I left – they put me very at ease,” Judy said.  “Waminda provided very good communication to my daughters while I was away, which was fantastic.

    “They also welcomed and worked well with doctors from outside of the facility to continue care of Bill after having issues post-surgery.

    “Bill is taking a lot of medications at the moment and at Waminda they started him on Webster packs, we haven’t looked back since and continue to use this service. You can actually learn a thing or two to help, while your loved one is in care,” Judy said.

    Judy and Bill are at ease with the idea of respite, as they saw how helpful it was with Judy’s Mother and Father many years ago - a large age gap saw her Father go into care long before her Mother, but they were able to walk down the road and visit every day. “You can continue your previous life, just with a bit of help” said Bill.

    “Nursing homes have come a long way since my parents were in one. Now they feel more homely, friendly, and staff are more personalized. All you need to do is factor respite care for your loved one into your holiday budget and book it well in advance– it’s as easy as that” Judy said.

    “We love living on a site that offers us both a place to call home and a place to go if respite or higher care when it is eventually needed” Judy said.

    “Hats off to SwanCare, we’re very happy here.”


    If you feel the need for a break please get into contact with:

    Leanne LeBrun - Manager Admissions: Leanne.LeBrun@swancare.com.au or 6250 0250

    Heather Laws - Resident Support Coordinator: Heather.Laws@swancare.com.au or 6250 0020

    Mechy Scharlach - Manager SwanCare At Home: Mechy.Scharlach@swancare.com.au or 6250 0301


    “I’d like to send a special acknowledgement to Leanne, Heather, and Mechy for always being there to answer any questions we have about care – we would be lost without you all.”

    – Judy and Bill Mackintosh


  • SwanCare is an Innovation Winner
    Mon 15 Jul 2019

    Medical programs fostering the future of aged care

    SwanCare has been announced as a winner in the 2019 Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) awards for advancing the skills of future doctors and nurses.

    A not for profit and West-Australian retirement living and aged care provider, SwanCare has won the Innovation in Service or Design category of the Awards, reflecting two programs developed by SwanCare in partnership with Curtin Medical School and The University of Notre Dame Australia.

    “At SwanCare we are committed to developing health professionals who are involved in meeting the care needs of our ageing population, now and in the future,” SwanCare General Manager of Health and Aged Care Services, Julie Atkinson said. “Nurturing the knowledge, skills and mindset of the future aged care workforce is of huge importance."

    The SwanCare/Curtin Medical School partnership, called the Senior Citizen Partnership Program, works as an intergenerational program to help develop senior-savvy doctors of the future.

    SwanCare resident Susan Lewis is currently linked with seven students in total.

    “It is very important for doctors to be aware of the processes of ageing, physically and mentally, especially as people are living much longer these days,” Sue said. “As an older person I feel I have a wealth of knowledge and experience I can share with these young students.

    “I find the students delightful and I gain so much by learning about their views and different cultures.  It really is a two way relationship - I feel I’m helping them and they certainly provide me with very stimulating conversation.”

    Now in its second year, the Graduate Nurses Program is a SwanCare/Notre Dame University partnership which every year welcomes two nurses to complete post graduate studies and attain their Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing while working at SwanCare’s residential care facilities.

     “Working with our partners in the development of our future doctors and nurses will benefit both our ageing population and our communities in general, by creating better health care outcomes,” Julie Atkinson said. “It is our hope that the understanding between generations will improve the perception of the aged care sector as a career path, attracting a younger demographic with a vibrancy of attitude and innovative thinking.”



    SwanCare representatives at the 2019 ACSA Awards


    About the Senior Citizen Partnership Program

    Now in its third year, the Senior Citizen Partnership Program, run with the Curtin Medical School, provides students the opportunity to build positive relationships with an older person. The introduction is made in the first year and is maintained throughout their five year degree. The program intends to offer students insight to their Senior Citizen partner’s needs, an understanding of the ageing process and how an older person might interact with the health system. It is hoped that a familiarity and an empathy will evolve and help future doctors to meet the needs of our ageing population.

    There is strong evidence that increasing the social interaction and participation of older adults is a key factor in successful ageing and improved psychological health; with volunteering later in life being associated with reduced symptoms of depression, better self-reported health and fewer functional limitations (Douglas et al, 2016 Anderson et al, 2014).

    The Senior Citizen Partnership Program has engaged 86 medical students over the past three years in partnership with 45 residential and independent living residents at SwanCare, receiving excellent feedback from all involved.

    “We are delighted to have experienced some senior citizen participants signing up each year to assist a new cohort of medical students with some now partnering students in each of the three years the program has been running,” Julie Atkinson said. “Communicating with seniors and understanding their perspective on life, ageing and health issues is invaluable for the students and the heartfelt bonds built between participants is testament to the program’s value.”


    About the Graduate Nurses Program

    Within the care system, SwanCare has experienced an increase in the level of care required for residents and the need to deliver more complex care at an acute level. The Graduate Nurses Program was developed with Notre Dame University as a way to engage nurses into the aged care industry and to be able to meet the increasingly complex needs of residents.

    The Graduate Nurses Program engages two nurses per year to complete post graduate studies and attain their Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing, while working a number of shifts per week in our residential care facilities. The program is now in its second year.

    Nurses complete the program with broader knowledge and skills particular to the aged care industry - and improved employment prospects - and graduate with a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing.

  • SwanCare a Finalist in Care Awards
    Tue 09 Jul 2019

    SwanCare has been announced as a finalist in the 2019 Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) Aged Care Awards for the category of Innovation in Service or Design.

    The Award nomination reflects SwanCare’s partnerships with Curtin Medical School and The University of Notre Dame to support the growth and development of future doctors and nurses. 

    “While SwanCare maintains its focus on nurturing existing staff to meet the needs of our current residents, we are also committed to the development of a strong future workforce for our ageing population,” SwanCare General Manager of Health and Aged Care Services, Julie Atkinson said.  “Fostering up-coming healthcare professionals for older Australians is of huge importance."

    The SwanCare/Curtin Medical School partnership, called the Senior Citizen Partnership Program, works as in intergenerational program to help develop senior-savvy doctors of the future.

    The main purpose of this program is to provide all first year medical students with an opportunity to establish positive relationships with older citizens, providing the students with an insight into the older citizen’s life as well as an in-depth understanding of the ageing process, the health and wellbeing issues experienced by the elderly and their experience with the health care system. This relationship continues throughout their five-year medical degree.

    The Graduate Nurses program is a SwanCare/The University of Notre Dame partnership which every year welcomes two nurses to complete post graduate studies and attain their Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing while working at SwanCare’s residential care facilities.


    About the Awards

    The 2019 ACSA Aged Care Awards celebrates the outstanding achievements and contributions made by organisations, teams and individuals in the aged care industry throughout the year. ACSA is the leading peak body supporting over 700 church, charitable and community-based Not-for-profit organisations that provide accommodation and care services to over 450,000 older Australians.

    The winner of the Western Australian award will be announced on 12 July. Click here for more information. https://www.acsa.asn.au/Training-and-Events/2019-ACSA-Aged-Care-Awards

  • SwanCare Wins Silver in Employer of Choice Awards!
    Wed 24 Apr 2019

    Tanya Rose with SwanCare resident

    At SwanCare, we work hard to create a supportive and loving environment not only for our residents, but for our team of more than 350 incredible staff members. We conduct regular reviews - and we are proud of our supportive workplace that many of our team members say “feels like home.”

    This is why we are incredibly humbled to learn that Swancare has been awarded Silver for Employer of Choice in the category for 100-499 employees. We are also delighted that SwanCare has been recognised as a top performer in the Training and Professional Development, Access to Technology, and Health and Wellbeing categories.

    About the HRD Award

    The annual competition, run by Human Resources Magazine (HRD), seeks to identify employers of choice across a number of worthy categories. The winner of each category is determined based on a survey of anonymous employees across Australia. From January to February 2019, staff rated their organisation in areas such as career progression, diversity, inclusion and recognition. Outstanding workplaces secured Gold, Silver or Bronze in each category.


    SwanCare Recruitment Team

    Our talented and tireless recruitment specialists, Isabella and Priska, play a vital role in
    connecting SwanCare with our future superstars.


    SwanCare General Manager of People and Culture Fiona Miller said the Award has come at an important time. “For us at SwanCare, achieving Silver in the Employer of Choice Awards is a recognition of our tireless efforts - not only over the years, but particularly over recent months as the Aged Care Inquiry has cast a shadow over our industry,” she said.

    “This award is really significant to us because it’s based on anonymous survey responses from our employees. Our goal is to be recognised by our own people as a great place to work. Because if we get that right, we are going to be a great place to work for future employees too,” Fiona said.

    “We are so proud of our employees as they are the reason that SwanCare is such a fantastic place to work. It’s wonderful that we are recognised not only within our immediate circle, but also nationally,” she shared.

    Fiona praised the Training and Development and the People and Culture teams for their hard work, which is clearly greatly appreciated by SwanCare staff - so appreciated in fact, that staff report a 94.6% satisfaction rate.


    A look ‘under the hood’: SwanCare as a top performer in the Training and Professional Development, Access to Technology, and Health and Wellbeing categories.

    At SwanCare, our dedicated Training and Development Officer Sharon Arkwright runs our educational and development calendar which allows our team to upskill and gain further qualifications. “Staff can undertake courses on offer, or can suggest others that would be beneficial in their role. We encourage all staff to share knowledge with colleagues. Ultimately, it’s about developing and sharing knowledge to benefit our residents,” shared Fiona. 

    When asked about SwanCare’s approach to technology, Fiona said the key was to not shy away from technology but to embrace it.

    “We are always looking for ways to implement technology to improve efficiency. But we understand technology can be daunting for some - and this is where training comes in. We want to ensure our people are promoted based on their managerial skills, and not held back if they aren’t confident with technology. Technological skills are life skills. We want to help our staff use technology in different aspects of their lives.”

    Fiona emphasised that caring for the health and wellbeing of staff members is second nature at SwanCare.

    “We strive to nurture everybody’s health and wellbeing at SwanCare. When you join SwanCare, you join a family - and you look after your family because you care,” she shared. 

    “We go beyond the standard health check-ups. We do offer heart checks, annual flu shots and general health check-ups in the form of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) sessions. But we also host impromptu information sessions on how to work in a cultural diverse environment, provide tools for financial management, and have a dedicated OSH committee. Our OSH committee looks at a different topic each month and publishes an piece highlighting a health issue - whether it be advice the right type of footwear for work, or the effects of smoking for example.”


    The key ingredient to being an employer of choice

    Fiona highlighted employee engagement as an important factor in staff members feeling recognised and valued at SwanCare. “The People and Culture team has launched two fantastic people-led initiatives this year which aim to celebrate our staff members. We have introduced an internal ‘stories team’ team of employees who are capturing the many wonderful things our staff do each day to help our residents, their families and each other. Secondly, we’ve raised the bar on how to showcase our fantastic people, and the impact they have on the world. You may have seen the videos of Pauline, Farhath, Vivienne or Tanya... We’re really looking forward to sharing our next round of videos offering an authentic insight into the challenges and rewards of working at SwanCare,” she shared.


    Thank you to the SwanCare team for your support

    To each and every staff member who took part in the survey which led to SwanCare winning this significant award - thank you. As you may remember, it was a real team effort to be put on the map.

    “We knew we did a great job at SwanCare, and we wanted to share our story with Australia and beyond. When we heard about the Employer of Choice Awards, we reached out to our team and asked for them to complete the survey - and we had a wonderful response. It was really a lovely opportunity to reflect on what it means to work at SwanCare,” Fiona said.

    Today, we are asking more from our fantastic people than we ever have before.

    “SwanCare is growing fast - and we are evolving as our industry is evolving. We need to continue delivering exceptional care for our residents and putting them right at the centre of what we do.  However, we can only achieve this through the dedication, skills, and the agility of our people. Our people are the experience for our residents,” Fiona shared.


    SwanCare Employer of Choice Awards



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