On Friday 19 July, Resthaven CEO, Richard Hearn, was awarded the ‘Distinguished Service in Aged Care’ award, at the 2019 South Australian Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) Aged Care Awards.
With more than 30 years in leadership positions at Resthaven and on industry bodies, Richard is humbled by this award, which he attributes to the combined efforts of all those people who work together to provide outstanding care and support for older people and their carers.
In Richard’s acceptance speech, he said:
“I am honoured to have been nominated and to receive this award from ACSA. I wish to acknowledge other individuals and services who were nominated for awards, and congratulate them on their work.
“I am very mindful of the opportunity that being CEO offers me—to be more recognised and a representative of the contributions that Resthaven as a whole makes to the lives of individuals in sustaining their quality of life. There are so many at Resthaven who I see as distinguished in their contributions to the important work we do, and, to the sector as whole.
“I was reminded a few weeks ago, of the contribution of the long servicing staff like Mira Trett, who attended our recent Staff Appreciation function and was acknowledged for her 43 years working in housekeeping services; and the dedication of the likes of Dawn Schaefer, who has been volunteering for nearly 40 years.
“I am also reminded of a lady I met at a function at Resthaven Murray Bridge some years ago, who was 101 years old (the late Melva Baldock). Melva was on the move and I was sitting. I asked her how long she had been living at Resthaven. She responded, reminding me that she was one of our volunteers visiting some of those less fortunate than herself. I reflected on her sustained activity and participation in life, and ongoing contributions to others. Melva later did move into Resthaven Murray Bridge, and lived to be 106 years young.
“As a people and service sector, aged care relies on the work of individuals—their purposeful and skilled assistance of supporting others who have lost independence to varying degrees, and who invite us into their lives to assist them sustaining quality of life in their circumstance. It is good and important work.
“It became very clear to me in my first year at Resthaven, in 1986, of the importance of not only what we were doing at Resthaven, but what we were seeking to do collectively as a service sector, with like-minded organisations, and people of similar purpose and interests. And this is as an important a time as ever to continue the advocacy and support in our shared desire to do the good work we do, and ensure older individuals receive services they are truly deserving of.
“Like many, I am uneasy with the current environment regarding limited resources available, increasing expectations and the targeted focus in the Royal Commission of very poor, unacceptable outcomes that have and do occur. We have had other uneasy and difficult times and periods of significant change.
“In reflecting on this, we need to reaffirm what motivates us. We are committed to and proud of seeking to assist individuals sustain their quality of life.
“We will continue to have our challenges and disappointments from time to time, and we must rectify them with priority. But it is incredibly important that we continue this important work and be purposeful about it. I acknowledge and respect the very positive contributions to the lives of individuals every day by so many, and in our team we do try and share more broadly the positive aspects of the work we do. Most importantly, sharing the positive contributions, stories, and images of older individuals with their families and in our community.”
Richard has now been shortlisted as a nominee for ACSA’s national awards, to be presented during the organisation’s 32nd National Summit in October.
Established in 1935, Resthaven Incorporated is a not for profit, South Australian aged care community service associated with the Uniting Church. Every day, Resthaven shares the lives and wisdom of around 10,000 older people and their carers, working together to provide outstanding care and support.
Resthaven’s residential and in-home care and support options are offered throughout metropolitan Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills, Murraylands, Riverland, Barossa, Fleurieu Peninsula and the Limestone Coast.