• Consumer Advisory Body member Maureen is chasing meaningful change

    Consumer Advisory Body member Maureen is chasing meaningful change

    When Maureen Franklin of Encounter Bay heard that Resthaven was putting together a Consumer Advisory Body to inform services for older people, she knew it was ‘right up my street’.

    Consumer body of people meeting in front of screensAn active 76 and living at home with support from Resthaven Fleurieu Community Services, Maureen spent her professional life working ‘across just about every aspect of health,’ and she has informed and interesting ideas to share.

    Starting out as a mature age nursing student at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Maureen ended up in clinical research, before moving to clinical planning and design.

    ‘I moved to South Australia when my son was about five, but the state didn’t recognise my New South Wales nursing qualifications,’ she explains.

    ‘I became a project officer, working with aged care providers to bring them up to speed with the Aged Care Standards.’

    ‘That’s how I chose Resthaven; it’s an aged care provider that I respect.’

    Maureen came to need Resthaven’s services just after she retired; ‘I had a whole series of falls, and I ended up spending a month in Victor Harbor hospital.’

    ‘I went on the CHSP [Commonwealth Home Support Program], which was good, as I couldn’t drive for six weeks.’

    ‘I was assisted through the whole process by the Nurse Practitioner at my GP.’

    ‘Many people are in denial about needing help, but I’ve found it to be extremely helpful.’

    ‘Through my [home care] package, I have fortnightly cleaning, and hydrotherapy with an exercise physiologist.’

    ‘My package has also helped with things like getting dangerous steps replaced, and some in-home equipment.’

    Despite a few physical mishaps, Maureen’s mind remains as sharp as ever, so when she received a letter inviting nominations to the Consumer Advisory Body, she jumped at the chance.

    ‘Consumer feedback is so important,’ she says. ‘I’ve always been an advocate for consumers of aged care, but how do you know at the end of the project that you’ve got it right?’

    ‘We do all these reforms, but they shouldn’t just be lip service.’

    ‘We need to be developing and recording indicators, delivering the change, and following through.’

    ‘It has to be meaningful.’

    Resthaven couldn’t agree more. CEO, Darren Birbeck explains, ‘The Consumer Advisory Body that Maureen is a part of was established in late 2023, however, Resthaven has been running Consumer Advisory Groups for many years.’

    ‘The former comprised current and past Resthaven customers, interested community members, community organisations, church congregations, and retirement villages, and were a valuable source of feedback to inform Resthaven’s future direction and service provision.’

    ‘We know that feedback from the new Consumer Advisory Body, made up of present and past clients, residents, and representatives, will be just as important and valuable.’

    The Consumer Advisory Body orientation session was held on 23 February 2024 at Resthaven Head Office, with almost 30 members participating both in person and online (pictured above right).

    Darren, who opened the session, says, ‘We look forward to hearing from consumers such as Maureen about how Resthaven can continue to provide high quality services to older people and their carers.’

    The first Consumer Advisory Group was held on Friday 24 May at Resthaven Head Office, with around 35 participants across two sessions coming together to discuss Resthaven’s services. Guests were joined by Resthaven Board Member, Jon Clarke; Senior Manager Strategy, Sarah Brown; and Manager Service Development, Tam Henwood, to inform Resthaven’s residential and community services. We look forward to the insights the groups will bring in continuing to provide high quality services to the people who invite Resthaven into their lives.

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