Innovation Continues at Respect in 2024

Mt St Vincent |

The Respect Way - Mt St Vincent

Last year, we launched our Respect Way Lean Leadership program, which will again foster a culture of innovation across our homes in 2024. 

The personal development program provides our staff with the confidence, tools, and skills to strive for and lead positive change when confronted with specific operational challenges. Outcomes and solutions can then be shared across our teams and homes, helping us continuously innovate our care as a unified organisation. 

One of the Respect Way projects recently completed centred on ‘Improving the resident dining experience’. This was led by the team at Mt St Vincent in West Ulverstone, Tasmania, following their finding that residents had inadvertently become accustomed to tray service in their rooms. Subsequently there was a reluctance to eat meals in a group setting, severely limiting the opportunity for resident participation and staff member engagement. 

“We know that by creating a positive and engaging dining experience, we can have a big impact on residents’ daily lives,” says Corrie Harper, General Manager at Mt St Vincent. “Not only does it improve resident socialisation, mobility and general health, but by having a well-attended system in place we also provide staff with more opportunities for supervision and care.” 

The project focused on introducing three improvements: 

  • The use of novel and aesthetically pleasing table settings to improve resident participation and engagement. This included the use of bright coloured plates and bowls to support residents living with dementia. 
  • Staff encouraging more participation by residents in the meal service.
  • Enhancing staff awareness of the dining experience, its benefits for residents, and potential barriers impacting engagement. An additional component involved staff engaging in virtual reality training with Dementia Australia, so they could gain a better first-hand understanding of what it might be like to experience a meal while living with dementia. 

Since these changes have been implemented, Mt St Vincent has seen an increase in dining room attendance, which was particularly welcome over the festive period where socialisation is so imperative for wellbeing. 

Ana Van Der Merwe is our Continuous Improvement Lead and manages Respect Way, and she acknowledged the essential work of the Mt St Vincent team. 

“This was a great example of a project with multiple focus areas, but with a single overarching goal: to improve the day-to-day lives of our residents, and put staff at the centre of leading that change,” she says.

“While the improvements may seem incremental, it’s the incremental shifts in thinking that ultimately help us grow as an organisation. That’s how innovation works… it challenges us to analyse our daily actions and consider all impacts. Before we know it, we’ve developed a fresh way to do something, a new standard, and that becomes best practice.” 

In more great news for Respect Way, the program will continue to grow in 2024 and we are excited to soon be launching in Victoria and New South Wales, meaning more of our team members can get involved. 

Speaking to this growth, Brett Menzies, our Chief of Residential Aged Care, said: 

“We have been so pleased to see the impact of Respect Way, and I’m proud to say it continues to gather important momentum. Embedding lean methodology into how we operate is leading to better resident outcomes and enables our staff to better solve problems for themselves, which we know makes their roles more fulfilling. I’m really excited for 2024 as we launch the program out across Victoria and New South Wales and commence the next phase in Tasmania.”

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