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Hall & Prior’s Fairfield Aged Care Home, located in the western suburbs of Sydney is not only the largest home in New South Wales but also houses the most diversity in regards to it residents. Fairfield City is located in Sydney's south western suburbs, about 32 kilometres from the Sydney GPO and is home to over two hundred thousand people. Population data from census highlights a highly cultural area consisting of Chinese, Vietnamese and Assyrian/Chaldean backgrounds as the most prominent ethnic backgrounds. As our Director of Nursing, Sarah Riach explains “we care for people from all walks of life here at Fairfield”.
The home operates with a very high percentage of government supported residents which sits consistent with the areas socio-economic data and the high unemployment rate. The resident’s clinical and emotional wellbeing needs rate in the high to very high end for the greater Sydney area due to the diverse nature of the area’s cultural population.
Recent admissions have been Assyrian refugees “language is a barrier and we have to utilize maintenance staff and other relatives to assist with communication,” Director of Nursing Sarah Riach said. “We constantly reach out to area support services such as the Assyrian Refugee Support Group to see if they know of any Assyrian Assistant in Nursing and/or volunteers that may be in the area and interested in coming to our home”.
Fairfield Aged Care Home also care for many non-elderly residents. Currently there are a large percentage of residents under the age of 65. Many of whom are suffering the long term effects of poor lifestyle choices such as alcohol and drug abuse. Fairfield also has a secure section on the first floor that cares for residents with mental health issues such as schizophrenia and bipolar and is also a safe and secure residence for those with early onset dementia.
The staff at Fairfield Aged Care Home are well educated and try to be proactive and avoid triggers for behaviours. “We seek support from external service providers such as DAS and we are also supported by Braeside Mental Health Hospital,” Sarah said.
Sarah makes many applications to the NCAT to assist residents with their financial management. Many of her residents require the NSW Trustee and Guardian to be their appointed Financial Manager. Sarah participates in all PG and NSW T&G Hearings.
“Our home is a happy and friendly environment, we maintain this by speaking to individual residents who are aggressive or abusive and ensure they understand the rights of the staff who work here. We find that setting expectations on behaviour has a very positive effect on how residents are expected to treat the staff and other residents” Sarah highlights.
The homes location is a huge benefit to residents and their families as it is centrally located to the Fairfield City CBD. Being close to transport and shops allows a great deal of involvement for the residents in the local community. Many of our mobile residents are often out on walks around the shops or out for lunch with staff. The resident particularly enjoy outings to local cafes, McDonalds, the RSL, local pubs and even to the local ten pin bowling alley. On Sundays some residents are taken to nearby churches and collected by staff following services. The church communities in the area are very supportive of Fairfield Aged Care Home (the gospel singers and SAI groups) will often visit the home.
Staff also assist residents to go on appointments locally. They are encouraged to do their own shopping with assistance of the staff as this helps them to maintain their independence. “Many of our residents don’t have family support, this helps them to get the things that they need,” Sarah said. “We also have close ties with Fairfield RSL who provide a birthday gift for each resident as well as a therapist to give a weekly hand massage to the residents.”
Fairfield Aged Care Home is also supported by Fairfield High School who provides gifts to residents for Mother’s and Father’s Day, Christmas and Easter. “Last December they put on ‘A Christmas to Remember’ for our residents at the local shopping centre, ‘Fairfield Forum’, where residents were treated to gifts, delicious food and a visit from Santa as well as entertainment from Fairfield Primary School Children”.
Sarah lights up when asked about the transition into the home being a Hall & Prior run facility “Since Hall & Prior acquired Fairfield Aged Care Home in 2016, I’m happy to say there’s been a massive culture change within the home, to make it a kinder, more loving environment for both residents and staff.”
Sarah’s vision for Fairfield Aged Care Home is to grow the culture of warmth and caring between staff, residents and family members. Sarah says, “People are laughing while they’re working and our residents are happier. You can change someone’s world with just a bit of kindness.” Sarah goes on to mention that the connections she creates with those she cares for, and the ability to love so many people are crucial in the aged care industry.
Sarah believes this is what makes aged care so special. “People who work in hospitals don’t get to form relationships like this. They don’t get to be a big part of someone’s journey, or get the honour of holding someone’s hand as they take their last breath,” she said.
The staff at Fairfield are devoted to the residents and are willing to go above and beyond for their needs. “Even the act of making sure a resident’s room is perfect for when their family come to see them for the last time, you get to make sure the last memory the family have is as perfect as it can be.” Sarah said. “Being there for other families is what drives me.”
“The staff at Fairfield are dedicated to excellence in aged care and have a bright and enthusiastic attitude which is infectious amongst staff and residents. They are passionate about care and the emotional wellbeing of our residents. Seeing such positive and loving attitudes within our Fairfield staff helps make this a happy, friendly home for our residents,” Sarah said.