Uniting AgeWell works with universities and other partners to innovate and improve services so that we can deliver better outcomes for our customers for decades to come.
We are involved in a number of collaborative partnerships with a range of organisations aimed at developing cutting-edge, integrated solutions to support aged care innovation.
Our Innovation Framework
At Uniting AgeWell, we define innovation as the process of bringing together research, collective intelligence and experience to co-design and deliver high quality and accessible services for people across their ageing journey.
Our Innovation Framework is the strategic structure we have designed to give us the ability to leverage research, tap into customer and staff ideas, and generate valuable opportunities for our organisation and customers.
Talking Mental Health
Ground-breaking research is underway looking at how best to support aged care staff to identify and meet the mental health needs of older people in the community.
Talking Mental Health – a research study partnership between Uniting AgeWell, Flinders University and the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) – looks at guidelines, procedures and implementation strategies to support staff and build confidence around mental health as an aspect of aged care.
The Talking Mental Health Project aims to co-design and test care protocols that will enable better identification of our customers' mental health needs and provide improved access to intervention.
Interactive training provides our staff with the tools to proactively recognise our customers’ needs, gain greater understanding of factors impacting mental and emotional wellbeing as we age and offer practical methods to create space for open conversation.
“Home care workers are in a really important position to have open conversations and provide companionship and reduce social isolation for their client and look after their emotional wellbeing,” says Anita Goh, Associate Professor and Clinical Neuropsychologist at the NARI.
Uniting AgeWell is a Founding Industry Partner with the Terrapin Theatre in Tasmania of a unique program using theatre and puppetry to intentionally enhance health and wellbeing outcomes for people in aged care settings.
The partnership follows a successful period of collaboration in the ‘Forever Young Puppetry in Aged Care’ project that saw residents at our Mornington Community, Lillian Martin participate in the co-design of the show through a series of workshops intended to tap into their collective memories to create a bespoke experience that resonates with older people. Aside from performance, individual bedside visits and spontaneous interactions are an important part of the program.
Do Be Feel Cards
A post-graduate student team from Swinburne University co-designed the ‘Do Be Feel’ toolkit with Uniting AgeWell customers in residential care and community centres.
The ‘Do Be Feel’ toolkit will help our staff connect with customers and understand what makes each customer unique.
The toolkit is a simple and engaging resource to provide insights on how services can be improved and personalised. The ‘Do Be Feel’ toolkits have been created for all residential homes and community centres and will be rolled out in early 2023.
Telehealth Top Up Project
This partnership with the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, the University of Sydney and the Sydney Local Health District involves training Home Care Workers to undertake Exercise Support Tasks.
Physiotherapists then provide sessions via telehealth to home care customers using the Uniting AgeWell Video Calling Tablets.
The Exercise Coaches attend the home for the online physiotherapy sessions and additional exercise sessions throughout the week, assisting the customer to undertake their individualised exercise program. This project has been well received by customers and will be expanded in 2023.
The Top Up Project has been awarded funding by the Second Round of the Aged Care Research and Industry Innovation Australia (ARIIA) Grants Program.
Point of Care Testing
This partnership with the University of Melbourne and the Department of Health and Human Services has provided point of care testing machines to eight Uniting AgeWell residential homes across Victoria and Tasmania.
The project investigates if this TGA approved rapid on-site test for the diagnosis of influenza and COVID-19 is easy, or difficult. It is envisaged that the use of rapid on-site tests will speed the detection of influenza and COVID-19.
The BEFRIENDAS study is a randomised controlled trial investigating the impact of a befriending program on levels of depression, anxiety, social support and loneliness in older people living in residential aged care.
The program is provided by volunteers who are trained and supported by NARI. This partnership with NARI is funded by the NHMRC and Beyond Blue, and is currently available at six Victorian Uniting AgeWell homes.
The Dossy Project
Uniting AgeWell is working with Dossy.co to pilot the ‘Dossy’ video calling app for older people.
The Dossy app has been designed specifically for older people with the aim of overcoming technology barriers and build confidence in initiating video calls to family.
After a successful grant process, Uniting AgeWell will be expanding this project in 2023 through the Dossy Community Connect trial which will include a team of volunteers being available for customers to call and increase their circle of social connections.
The Dossy Project has been awarded funding by the Second Round of the Aged Care Research and Industry Innovation Australia (ARIIA) Grants Program.
The Herd Intergenerational Learning Centre
The Herd Intergenerational Learning Centre is Australia's first shared-roof intergenerational learning, childcare centre.
Children attending the centre and residents at Uniting AgeWell Andrew Kerr Care Community in Mornington regularly come together to enjoy activities such as art, music, lunch, storytelling, or just visiting. Opportunities for elders to volunteer at the centre are also part of the mix.
The Centre officially opened Friday 3 March 2023.
Uniting AgeWell will engage a PhD candidate to evaluate the HERD project and the benefits to all involved.
Get in touch
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