Southern Cross Care (SA & NT) Ensuring Elders Reach Their Best Health Potential

4 years ago
innovAGEING > Case Studies > Southern Cross Care (SA & NT) Ensuring Elders Reach Their Best Health Potential


For older people, increasing sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity contribute to increased disability and morbidity. Among inactive older Australians, the risk of hospitalisation and the annual Australian Government health expenditure outlay is three times greater than their active counterparts.

Exercise, and more specifically progressive resistance combined with balance training, are proven countermeasures to the negative impacts of physical inactivity. Southern Cross Care and its Community Health and Wellness (CH&W) teams have embraced this evidence, incorporating it into a complete model of care that is seeing significant positive client outcomes.

Person-centred wellness and reablement

The CH&W teams consist of a group of passionate allied health professionals and therapists invested in ensuring clients reach their best health potential.

Among the three CH&W facilities, Carmelite has become a flagship example of what the community aged care health and wellness centre of the future will look like. Modern and appealing in design, containing equipment aligned to health gains, where clients can achieve self-motivated training and be supported by staff with the relevant experience and knowledge to guide the client health journey.

This journey includes a preliminary health assessment that informs multidisciplinary case-conferencing to identify the most suitable reablement pathway. As part of this process, the allied health and therapist team make internal referrals breaking down the disciplinary silos of treatment and working together to maximise the client’s health.

During case-conferencing, discussions include information about alternative engagement opportunities, followed by the clinician discussing with the client the importance of finding purpose, engaging socially and being informed via educational seminars.

For many older adults, the reablement pathway is disjointed or incomplete. In contrast, the Carmelite CH&W team focus of services is targeted to the client’s needs, with supported participation until the client achieves a maintenance phase in their health journey.

Maximising health with world-class facilities

The Stronger Today program consists of group and 1:1 services delivered in a world-class centre, built new and for the purpose of maximising the health of older adults by focusing on preventative measures or reversing age associated disability. Clients have access to nine HUR air pneumatic resistance machines, supplying 14 exercises essential to functional independence. Strength and conditioning is complemented by evidenced-based balance training, delivered in a progressive manner. Complementing Stronger Today is hydro and aqua therapy, a range of group exercise classes (eg. Zumba, Tia Chi, Pilates) and targeted therapy groups (eg. stroke, Parkinson and hand therapy groups).

Looking to the future

Southern Cross Care are breaking this mould, looking to evidence to guide best-practice wellness and reablement, and offering a ‘Health for All’ vision. They are investing in facilities that align to modern thinking, person-centre health and wellness opportunities. Service quality is tracked and scrutinised, with new initiatives and continuous improvement actions helping CH&W to proactively drive services forward.

Initiatives that look to the future include: graduate and student program to grow the aged care clinicians of the future; targeted programs for disadvantaged groups such as carers or those with cancer; and connecting ride service to ensure clients can get to a CH&W centre.

The Carmelite CH&W team are central to these initiatives, driving new evidence-based models of care, while remaining person-centred in their approach to service delivery. This service is setting a standard all aged care providers should be aspiring to in their community health and wellness model of care.

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