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Caring for the Caregivers

26 July 2015

3692 views comments • Tagged as Awards Community Connections Care Staff Stories Wellington

Volunteers Lee Smith and Manfred Mwape have helped Manager Helene Walton run Thumbsup4care since the first meeting

The first 6 – 12 months can be a challenging time for aged care workers. It’s hard physical work and new caregivers often struggle with the difficult situations they come up against. In 2010, a New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA) survey reported an annual staff turnover rate of 56 percent for caregivers. Helene Walton, manager of Oceania’s Elderslea, knew that by reducing staff turnover amongst aged care workers during their first year of service she could make a positive impact on quality and continuity of care, so she decided to do something about it. 


In late 2013, Helene founded the Thumbsup4care support group which is open to all caregivers working in aged care in the Hutt Valley at no cost. The group meets regularly to discuss common issues faced by caregivers, role-play difficult scenarios and assist with practical solutions to shared problems. The programme has had such an impact that it won the Health & Wellbeing category at the 2015 Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards. This award is well-deserved recognition for Helene and her team of volunteers for the positive contribution they make to the community.


The Thumbsup4care programme is also being trialled at Oceania Healthcare sites in the Hawkes Bay, Taupo and Bay of Plenty regions to provide support for their local aged care workers. 


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