This is Care Opinion [siteRegion]. Did you want Care Opinion [usersRegionBasedOnIP]?

Stories of person-centred and family involved care that touched my heart this year

Update from Care Opinion Australia

Posted by on


picture of Sarah Higgins

Each one of us at Care Opinion has our own lived experience, our own personal journey and, experiences with health as a patient, and as a loved one. For myself, the stories that resonate the most are often related to aged care and women’s health issues, particularly endometriosis*.

In true Sarah fashion, I couldn’t pick just one favourite story from this year, and truly each and every story that comes through Care Opinion is memorable in its own way. The two stories that popped into my mind on reflection of this year were both aged care stories that came in these past few months. Visiting mum at Diamond Creek Community Care and Fantastic care for my mother both touched my heart. Take a moment to read them before you continue on if you wish.

Often, stories about aged care, particularly grandmothers, stand out to me. I have a very close relationship with my amazing, beautiful 90-year-old-Grandma Orr. I visit her every Saturday and we sit and talk about anything and everything over a strong, hot cup of tea (even in summer!) and usually a sweet treat or too.

These two stories, I feel, are outstanding examples of not only person-centred care, but family care and involvement. The commitment of the staff to provide a welcome and safe space for the family to be with their loved one encourages feelings of emotional safety. Emotional safety refers to the feeling of ‘feeling safe’ rather than just ‘being safe’ and is closely linked with the patient experience.

In the story ‘Fantastic care for my mother’ the consistency of care from the staff, as mentioned by the storyteller as being “fantastic from Cheryl and Kera in reception to Jenny the tea lady” as well as a later mention of the chaplain demonstrated, to me, a real culture of staff commitment to the experience of the residents, and family.

Bringing a horse into the aged care facility is, I imagine, no small feat. It brought a smile to my face to imagine how wonderful this must have been for the storyteller’s mother.

I have childhood memories of visiting my late Grandma Higgins at the aged care facility where she lived. She was the kindest person and loved to have fun. She would push us around on her walker and sing nursery rhymes with us. As a child I didn’t have much of an understanding of why grandma was in aged care, and I don’t recall ever perceiving the staff that worked there. I know now, though, that the family-friendly environment that existed in that place wasn’t by accident. Our family always felt welcome, it was always a warm and safe place and this would be attributed to the staff actively working to create this environment. Reading the story Visiting mum at Diamond Creek Community Care almost instantly transported me back to visiting my Grandma Higgins as a child. I felt the happiness of the children in this story, but more so it gave me a new lens on the scene before me.

As the family of someone who is a resident in an aged care facility, spending time with your loved one in a way that is comfortable and suits your needs (especially where children are involved) is incredibly important. When this works well the outcome is evident, as expressed by this storyteller “The happiest visit we’ve ever had there with mum”.

As we head into the holiday season and I start spending time with my family, thoughts of the wonderful staff across Australia, helping families to make special memories with their loved ones in residential aged care will be occupying my mind. How about you?


*It is important for me to note that endometriosis is not just a women’s issue and can affect anyone with a uterus, and for those who do not identify as female, suffering from endometriosis is particularly isolating and extenuates feelings of dysmorphia.

No responses to this post

Would you like to respond?