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Catholic Healthcare Leading The Way In Innovative First Class    Strategies For Aged Care Residents

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Catholic Healthcare was recently showcased as one of the most innovative aged care providers at the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) Symposium in Wagga Wagga.

The panel-style Symposium featured representatives from Catholic Healthcare, alongside Associate Professor Marguerite Bramble RN, Ph.D, GAICD. Associate Professor Bramble is the Clinical Chair in Aged Care Practice Innovation at Charles Sturt University, and has been working in partnership with Catholic Healthcare to research innovative practice.

Together, the panel shared some of the “innovative, first-class work” that St Catherine’s in Bathurst has been implementing over the past year.

“There are two innovative things that inspire me and so many others at St Catherine’s.” Associate Professor Bramble explained. “One is the art therapy that takes place, and the other is the way that they have transformed the concept of food for their residents.”

Associate Professor Bramble explained that food is often a source of great comfort, particularly for residents who are entering aged care for the first time. She observed that the Head Chef at St Catherine’s, Renier du Plessis, had developed a unique strategy in response to this.

Alongside other local chefs, du Plessis researched into the tastes and traditions of the Bathurst area. From this research, they developed a collection of recipes that mirrored what local residents enjoyed eating when they were younger. The strategy was coined ‘Dining with Dignity’.

Associate Professor Bramble also praised the art therapy strategy developed by the St Catherine’s Recreational Activities Officer, John Moran. Moran is teaching residents how to express themselves through painting. Their latest project was the creation of colourful murals that decorate the walls of St Catherine’s.

Associate Professor Bramble said that while these types of strategies are beginning to appear more in aged care around Australia, ‘Dining with Dignity’ and the art therapy approach are incredibly innovative.

“This is the first time the AAG has done something like this, and we can see how incredible the impact was,” Associate Professor Bramble describes.

“We will definitely be presenting this kind of inspirational, innovative techniques in aged care for the next Symposium.”