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To deliver excellent care, you need exceptional staff.
Last year, the team at Windsor Park Aged Care Home was honoured with a Commonwealth Better Practice Award for their culturally valid care program for Aboriginal people.
The program was developed over the past decade, and was the result of a combined effort from staff, our resource team partners and connections with the academic and Aboriginal communities. The 118-bed home is located in Carlisle, in Perth’s east, and is a welcoming, vibrant home filled with energy. It is separated into two wings, Coolibah Lodge and Banksia and Boronia.
We are proud to highlight Windsor Park’s management team: Executive Manager Sharyn McDavitt, Deputy Directors of Nursing Julie Warhurst and Louise O’Hare and Aboriginal Health Coordinator Wendy Ashwin.
Manager of Safety, Quality and Compliance Janice Rooney, Aboriginal Health Coordinator Wendy Ashwin, Deputy Directors of Nursing Louise O’Hare and Julie Warhurst, Executive Manager Sharyn McDavitt, Australian Aged Care Quality Agency WA State Director Paul Richards, General Manager Health & Care Serivces WA Jennifer Grieve and Chief Executive Officer Graeme Prior at the 2016 Directors’ Awards.
Executive Manager Sharyn McDavitt said she has always known she wanted to work in a role where she helped people.
“I started in aged care 40 years ago as a Registered Nurse at Royal Perth Hospital,” she said. “I’ve always felt passionate about end of life care and dementia care.”
Sharyn has been with Hall & Prior for 10 years and has been the Executive Manager at Windsor for the past seven and a half.
“There are different challenges every day, and there are a vast range of comorbidities and behaviours,” she said. “But the teamwork I see here is just incredible. Everyone works together to do their best and keep our residents happy.”
“To work somewhere like Windsor you need to be open-minded, a team player and above all you need to be compassionate.”
Deputy Director of Nursing (DDON) Louise O’Hare manages Banksia and Boronia and began her journey to aged care when she qualified as a registered nurse in 2009 in her homeland of Ireland.
“A few close friends and my mum are all nurses, so that steered me towards nursing to begin with,” Louise said. “I was accepted into Queens University in Belfast but it wasn’t until I was on my first placement that I knew this was definitely the job for me.”
“I was eager to get started after uni so I got a job in a nursing home called Aughnacloy House in the dementia-specific unit. I worked with a wonderful team of people up until I left to come to Australia in August 2011.”
She joined Windsor Park in 2012 as a Registered Nurse in Coolibah Lodge, then progressed to the role of Clinical Nurse Manager before becoming the DDON.
“Windsor Park challenges me every single day,” Louise said. "It’s such a busy environment and working here has definitely helped my confidence as a nurse. It’s a great place to work and we all look after each other.”
She said she loved the opportunities to learn at Windsor Park, particularly in the areas of palliative and end of life care. To keep up with the busy home, Louise said patience, kindness, compassion and a good sense of humour were essential to be able to face the unknown challenges that change on a daily basis.
DDON Julie Warhurst has managed Coolibah Lodge since 2015, but joined the home 24 years ago, working as a Registered Nurse doing shift work. She got her start in the sector through mental health nursing, and said care has always been a passion for her.
“I have always wanted to work in a role where I help people,” she said. “I think it must be in my genes – my mum was a nurse and my sister is too. Windsor is definitely unique and every day is different.
“I love the teamwork and caring nature of our staff, and the support we all receive from management to make a difference with our resident. Many of them have no family contact or support so this is so important.”
When asked what advice she would give to someone looking to work in a big home like Windsor Park, she said she would tell them to definitely take on the challenge.
“Always finding time in your day to find a bright note is key,” she said. “Laughter really is the best medicine, so you have to maintain a sense of humour, communicate and be supportive of your work colleagues.”
Wendy Ashwin joined Windsor Park in 2014 in the role of Aboriginal Health Coordinator.
She has previously worked at the Office of the Public Advocate as a guardian, advocating for clients, the Department for Communities working as a Senior Redress Officer.
She has also previously worked for the Department of Child Protection.
Her role at Windsor Park involves advocating for individual Aboriginal care recipients and helping residents maintain social and family connections.
Wendy also liaises with the State Administrative Tribunal and Members, along with the Office of the Public Trustee (Administration) and The Office of the Public Advocate (Guardianship), where appropriate to a person’s circumstances.
“I was working as a guardian for a number of residents at Windsor Park so that’s how I got to know the home,” she said.
“After a while Sharyn asked if I would be interested in working in the Aboriginal Health Program. The thing I like the most is how much support I’ve received working at Windsor. It’s much more hands-on than my previous positions. Even though it is challenging it is very rewarding.”
Congratulations again to the staff of Windsor Park on their 2016 Commonwealth Better Practice Award.