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  • SwanCare Letters Week Highlights
    Tue 29 Oct 2019

    In one week of October, SwanCare held a week of letter-sharing to celebrate our fantastic people. SwanCare staff, residents, and family members put pen to paper, writing staff members letters of thanks and appreciation. Each morning of Letters Week, our managers hand-delivered these special cards to our team members.

    In a workforce of less than 400 people, more than 800 postcards had been sent by Wednesday and a total of 1300 postcards had been exchanged by the end of the week. We’re so incredibly proud of our people and what they do everyday to improve the lives of our residents and one another.

    Reflecting on the week, SwanCare Manager of People and Culture Fiona Miller said, “We kicked off the week by sharing a special breakfast with the Night Shift staff on Monday. There was  a festive atmosphere around SwanCare the entire week. In addition to the post-cards,  family members sent in letters to staff. When people received a letter, you could see they were thinking ‘Oh! I got one!’. It was wonderful to see.”


    Why recognition is so important   

    We all know that working in aged care isn’t easy and aged care workers rarely get the public recognition they deserve. We also know that our industry is under public scrutiny, and the 350,000 people in Australia working in aged care are under more pressure than ever before.

    SwanCare supports and applauds any initiative that helps remove bad practice in aged care. However, we also want to remind everyone that there is so much good in our industry - we see it every day at SwanCare and we’re sure you do too. Letters Week was designed to help remind our staff how important they are and how much we value them

    Below is just one example of the beautiful letters that made their way around SwanCare last week,  from hands to hearts.

    Letters Week was inspired by a video recently created by SwanCare* where staff were surprised with letters from their colleagues on camera. The response to the video was so overwhelming, we decided to dedicate an entire week to letter-sharing.

    Enrolled nurse Marissa Ballard received a letter during the filming of the video and said it was a moment she would never forget. “In forty years, I haven’t received anything like this. And to think I was planning on retiring before working for SwanCare - I would never have received this acknowledgement and I would never have realised just how much of an impact I’ve made. That’s worth all the money in the world, isn’t it?” Marissa said.

    SwanCare CEO Graham Francis said if aged care organisations want to create positive experiences, it’s essential to engage and inspire their team members. “Aged Care Letters Week is about celebrating hard-working people and it is my hope that the campaign spreads across Australia in the coming years. Recognising staff helps them feel valued and inspired while working in an industry that can be, at times, challenging. Thank you to all our incredible people,” Graham said. 

    *Made in partnership with Employer Branding Australia

  • SwanCare Wins National Award for Innovation
    Wed 09 Oct 2019

    SwanCare has won a national aged care award for advancing the skills of future doctors and nurses, announced at the Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) summit in Melbourne on October 8, 2019.

    The non-profit organisation won ACSA’s 2019 National Aged Care Award for Innovation in Service or Design, reflecting two initiatives developed by SwanCare in partnership with Curtin Medical School and The University of Notre Dame Australia.

    The win beat various innovative aged care projects based in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

    The SwanCare/Curtin Medical School partnership, 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.”

    The SwanCare/Notre Dame University partnership – called the Graduate Nurses Program – welcomes two nurses every year to complete post graduate studies and attain their Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing while working at SwanCare’s residential care facilities.

    “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."

    “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.”

    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.

  • Vacancy Spotlight: The Treasure Hunt for SwanCare’s New Facility Manager
    Fri 27 Sep 2019

    In February, SwanCare’s new SwanCare Ningana facility will open its doors to welcome more than 125 new residents. We’re humbled and honoured to extend our care to even more senior members of our community.

    A new facility means we’ll need the right people in the right places, and we’re very excited to be on a quest to grow our team by more than 100 staff!

    The very first addition to our SwanCare family will be our new SwanCare Ningana Facility Manager who will be integral in bringing SwanCare Ningana to life. The Facility Manager will work side-by-side with our leadership team to plan how our new facility will function - from the staff members we bring on board, to the technology we implement, all the way down to what’s on the menu. From there, they’ll be key to the day-to-day operations of Ningana, coordinating staff and teams to ensure the highest quality care for our residents.
    Jovy Tesani and Fiona Miller at our recent Feathers Leaderboard Event
    But what does it mean to be a Facility Manager at SwanCare? And what does it take? To find out, we sat down with two SwanCare managers you’ll be working closely with in this role.
    Meet Jovy Tesani, Manager Care Services (Kingia and Tandara Care Facility)

    As the sun rises, Jovy puts the kettle on and begins leafing through hand-over notes sent by the nurses who have just clocked off. She’s getting up to speed on the evening’s events and prioritising her day around staff and residents under her care. Occasionally, she’ll receive a call from a team member informing her of something out of the ordinary. “I tell my team they must always call me for anything important. I’d much rather help from home than have any surprises when I come in,” she laughs warmly.

    Jovy joined SwanCare in 2013 as a Clinical Coordinator after almost two decades as a registered nurse in the Philippines, the UK and Australia. She says the best part of her role is the compliments she receives from residents and family members for the service of care her staff has delivered. “I feel so incredibly proud of my team in those moments. It’s immensely satisfying.”
    To many of our staff, Jovy is the eyes, ears and heart-beat of the facilities she manages. Her servant-leadership style and unwavering support has seen her forge meaningful relationships with staff and the leadership team, underpinned by integrity and kindness. We asked Jovy for a few words of advice to our new Facility Manager.
    1. Choose your people wisely
    “Getting your staff right is huge. Never hire someone just because you want to fill a position. I always ask candidates where they see themselves in five years. You need to be able to envisage the person growing and developing within your team. Sometimes, this means you need to move away from the interview script, ask some questions that dive deeper, and go by your gut.”
    2. Lead by example
    “As Facility Manager, we’re working with staff on the floors as well as with the leadership team. It’s critical to strike a balance between working across all levels and departments to remain present and accessible to everyone. I walk around Tandara and Kingia everyday, talking to staff and asking how they are going. It’s important they see me. When you’re a leader, you’re a servant. You need to be a role model. It’s critical to speak with your actions and set an example. Finally, show empathy by putting yourself in the shoes of your staff. I love to have lunch with my staff and I encourage them not to always talk about work. It’s important we have that time to relax and learn about what’s happening in each other’s lives.”
    3. Ask for feedback to help you grow
    “As a manager, relationships have their ups and downs. Sometimes, you may get negative feedback or a complaint. Rather than being upset by criticism, I have always communicated with my staff to help them understand I have a different leadership style to what they may be used to, and I have always taken their words as constructive feedback to help me grow and improve in my role. I would say to the new facility manager, don’t take any negative feedback personally, but see it as a learning opportunity.”
    Meet General People and Culture General Manager, Fiona Millar
    Fiona will be working closely with our new SwanCare Ningana Facility Manager during their first few months to train them and provide ongoing support. Read on as Fi shares the qualities she’s looking for in our new SwanCare Ningana Facility Manager.
    1. Experience and expertise
    “Our new Facility Manager will be the glue between all the departments to keep Ningana running at its best, so that our residents receive the best care. This means we’re looking for someone with a solid background in business, finance and HR, with an understanding of aged care standards and accreditations. It goes without saying that we’re looking for someone with an in-depth knowledge of the aged care sector.”
    2. A passion for aged care
    “Without a doubt, the single most important quality in the new Facility Manager is a passion for aged care. Passion is non-negotiable because it’s how we work together; everyone is passionate about quality care for our residents. We sing from the same song sheet.”
    3. A collaborative leadership style
    “Leadership at SwanCare means leading by example, living the SwanCare values, and not leaving anyone behind. It’s important our new Facility Manager can be a leader and a follower when the time is right. They will need to work with team members on the floor and the leadership team in a collaborative and inclusive way.”
    Fi says collaborative leadership is also about actively asking questions and being open to receiving support and mentoring. The Ningana Facility Manager will find a strong support network in their fellow leaders with SwanCare’s open-door policy.
    We’re recruiting in advance - shape the facility you’ll manage!
    Our SwanCare Ningana facility doesn’t open until January, and new residents aren’t expected until March. Yet we’re recruiting a new Facility Manager now because they will be integral in shaping how Ningana will work. There will be good lead time for the person to get familiar with our processes at SwanCare, learn from other leaders, and help shape our direction.”
    If you believe you have the energy, experience and leadership skills for this role, we would love to hear from you. Submit your expression of interest here.
    Do you know a family member or friend who could be SwanCare’s future Ningana Facility Manager?
    Share this article - you could change their life (and those of so many wonderful residents). 
  • 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


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