Celebrating Aged Care

Monday 26 October 2015
Aged care facilities across Central Gippsland Health Service are ‘Celebrating Aged Care’.

Celebrating aged care                                                                                                                  20.10.2015                                                                                             


Director of Residential Aged Care at CGHS, Wayne Sullivan, said it was important to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of staff at all four facilities.

“We recognise the important contributions made by our aged care staff who care for some of our most vulnerable older citizens,” Mr Sullivan said.

“They must not only be proficient in what they do but must also possess certain qualities that make them great in this field. The quality of care for our residents is the focal point and we thank all our staff who provide this dedication and respect to the people who need it most.”

As part of the celebration from 15-22 October, staff and residents at Laurina Lodge in Heyfield, Stretton Park and McDonald Wing in Maffra, and Wilson Lodge in Sale have been holding various activities and acknowledging the contribution of staff.

Mr Sullivan said two staff members who typified dedication to their work were Victoria Tudor from the JF McDonald Wing and Ruth O’Brien from Laurina Lodge.

When Victoria first started nursing, her son who was 10 at the time, said:  “You will be a good nurse mum because you are the best person to have around when I am sick.”

“I got into nursing by accident,” she recalled. “A friend was looking for company at an information night held by TAFE for Division 2 nursing.  I agreed to accompany her… the next thing I knew, I had signed up and was preparing to begin study again.

“I was 38-years-old when I began work at Maffra District Hospital (MDH) in the McDonald Wing.  At 44, I decided to return to study and after three years at uni, I now am a Registered Nurse (RN).”

Victoria said the support from her Maffra colleagues was “invaluable” in helping her to manage work and study.

“Working in Sale as a graduate nurse for six months gave me experience in the acute hospital setting, but working with the aged is what I really wanted to do.  Returning to work at MDH as a RN has enabled me to continue work with the elderly, which is still as rewarding now as it was when I first began nursing.”

According to Victoria, working with the elderly has taught her that it is important to talk and listen to those in her care.  “Taking the time to listen and learn their history, or just chatting about the


present day, teaches me a lot, not only about their lives, but how they feel about the situations they are in at the current time. In turn, this helps me give the best care that I can give.

“I hope that with care and compassion I can tend to residents and live up to my son’s remark.”

Ruth’s first experience of aged care was working as a Patient Care Assistant (PCA) while training to be a RN.  After this introduction to the “challenges and rewards” of working in aged care, she started her nursing career at the Launceston General Hospital.

She worked in a surgical award and after marrying, moved to Adelaide where she worked in a private surgical hospital while completing her Diploma of Midwifery before moving to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

After eight years and four children later, Ruth and her husband returned to Heyfield where he came from and she started working at Heyfield Hospital almost 10 years ago.

“I love the mix of nursing that Heyfield provides,” she said. “The challenges of caring for people maintaining and assessing health and social wellbeing, and the relationships you develop with the residents, provide a varied and interesting work place.”

A major challenge came when she was appointed acting care manager in February this year but Ruth took it in her stride.

“Working in aged care provides many challenges and rewards,” Ruth said. “For an elderly person to move from their own home to living in an aged care facility is a big and daunting move for many.  To help people with this transition is an important part of working in aged care.

“Also to provide quality care that meets not only the Aged Care Standards but provides the resident with a home-like environment where they are happy in their last years is vital. To assist them with the nursing care they require is a wonderful opportunity to learn about their lives. It is a privilege.”