Stories and information about managing and living in a supported residential service
This video was made with Viewmont Terrace, Cottisfield, Brooklyn House, Merriwa Grove, Delaney Manor, Greenhaven, Alma House and SVVI-SRS Supporting Connections.
Under One Roof
Dennis Bromley, Proprietor, Viewmont Terrace: One of the things I really like about this job is to see how people progress through living here.
Linda Huntington, Proprietor, Cottisfield: What keeps us going here is having that sense of humour, having a bit of fun with the residents, knowing that you are making their lives better, and encouraging them to be the best that they can be. Keeping them well.
Jillian Brennan, Proprietor, Brooklyn House: Well, I've been in the nursing field since I left school. I don't know anything else, and I just love people, just love people. And I know I'm doing a good job, so it makes a lot of difference to the other people's lives.
Peter Gibson, Proprietor, Merriwa Grove & Delaney Manor: I get on very well with all the residents, we have a bit of a laugh. Obviously, there's a serious side of things you have to do. But generally, I think I'm seen as being approachable, I've built a good rapport with most of the residents, and I think they trust me.
Else Bromley, Manager, Viewmont Terrace: I love seeing them happy, which makes me happy. It just reinforces that I'm on track with my job and I'm doing my job right.
Jim Strongman, Lead Program Worker, SVVI-SRS Supporting Connections: The residents and the staff who are working and living under the same facility they are part of their home. It’s important that we never lose sight of the fact that, in Supportive Residential Services, that this is people's home too. And a lot of the residents look upon staff, managers and proprietors, as part of their immediate family.
King Chen, Proprietor, Greenhaven: A lot of my friends tell me that my job is difficult but I tend not to see it. I see my job as one that offers a lot of job enrichment.
Sue Gery, Proprietor, Alma House: No two days are ever alike. Every day is different, which is great. You never know what’s going to happen. I've always said we could make a movie of what goes on here every day. So that makes it pretty rewarding.
Silvia Borrelli, Lead Program Worker, SAVVI-SRS Supporting Connections: You know, we need to remember that there is a person who lives there, and it’s their home as well. And to have some respect for the fact that that place may be someone's home, while a proprietor may perceive that to be their business place.
Andrew Huntington, Proprietor, Cottisfield: It could be you or I where you need to go to assisted living. How would you like the place to be where you lived? If it happened to you?
That is the way Linda and I think. If it happened to us, you know?
Linda Huntington, Proprietor, Cottisfield: How would we like to be cared for?
Andrew Huntington, Proprietor, Cottisfield: That’s right how would we like to be cared for?
Do we understand each other?
Dennis Bromley, Proprietor, Viewmont Terrace: Every person that comes into an SRS is unique. They all have their own set of circumstances, their own life story that got them to your doorstep, and you’ve got to take that into account.
Putting them all in the one box will never work. They're all individuals.
Jillian Brennan, Proprietor, Brooklyn House: I have people with intellectually disabilities, I have people with mental illnesses and I have one gentlemen in his 80s who has just started to become ill with dementia. And I have a range of people from the age of 18 to 86. So I've got a pretty diverse group of people here. I have people with schizophrenia, I have people with paranoid schizophrenia, I have people who have manic depression, Asperger's, alcohol, brain injuries, a couple of guys that have had car accidents that have ABIs.
Sue Gery, Proprietor, Alma House: We have such a variety of people living in our SRS. They range from people that have been institutionalised all their adult life to people that once led very busy, full lives.
They might have been - we've had a teacher, a banker, a plumber, an electrician, a car mechanic, a therapist, a doctor. They are all walks of life.
King Chen, Proprietor, Greenhaven: It is important to understand the background of your residents and the way to do that is during the initial referral process. Try to collect as much information about the resident as possible, whether it be about the simple facts, including the pension numbers and Medicare numbers, to their religion, their hobbies, and the sorts of social connections and family connections they have in place. It is all important to collect.
Sue Gery, Proprietor, Alma House: We start by the people that we take in. My criteria for who we take in is that they must fit in with our existing population, and not have a history of aggression, but fitting in with the existing population is really important. So, I guess that's a good start. And I think by trying to make people happy and occupied, we're halfway there.
Silvia Borrelli, Lead Program Worker, SAVVI-SRS Supporting Connections: Coming to know someone, building rapport and trust over time. You know, gaining trust is a really big part of the role, I think, so that then when someone does become unwell, proprietors really know how to help someone, at least maintain wellness.
Peter Gibson, Proprietor, Merriwa Grove & Delaney Manor: It’s very important to understand the residents' backgrounds as far as mental health status, behaviours or illnesses, so that you can actually be in a situation where you can empathise with them, you can respect where they’re coming from with different things, but also making sure you get the right medical attention, the right involvement from social workers or whoever it may be.
Silvia Borrelli, Lead Program Worker, SAVVI-SRS Supporting Connections: There's a lot of wealth in people, there’s a lot of humanity in people, and we often forget who the person is because we get so consumed with the illness and the disability.
King Chen, Proprietor, Greenhaven: I believe that the key to maintaining harmony in any SRS is the avoidance of physical aggression and verbal aggression.
If you can prevent those two challenging behaviours, or minimise those two challenging behaviours, you can bring people from different age groups, different genders, different social backgrounds and family backgrounds together.
Jim Strongman, Lead Program Worker, SVVI-SRS Supporting Connections: You've got such a wide group of people all living together, it can be like an extremely complex soup when you’ve got them all together, and it’s really important for staff to have some basic understanding of the people they’re working with, even if they don't understand the particular diagnosis or illness they may have, it’s really important to get some idea of the person they are working with. That not only builds trust but also forms a bond and makes it easier to work with the person.
Peter Gibson, Proprietor, Merriwa Grove & Delaney Manor: Through the residential statement, we are able to identify the roles, rights and responsibilities of both the proprietor and staff, as well as the residents. So that's an important aspect when trying to spread yourself around, dealing with different people. But it is a good document for people to actually have so they can actually see that they do have the rights to do certain things, but with those rights come responsibilities. Dennis Bromley, Proprietor, Viewmont Terrace: I've just taken up, recently - I'd take about three or four of them up the street, we’d sit down and have a cup of coffee. I said to one of them actually, the four of them, "Tell me about your life." I found stuff out about their history that I never knew before. It gives me a different view of this person.
Jillian Brennan, Proprietor, Brooklyn House: To start off with, they’re paying your money, they’re paying your wages. They are the crux of your business. So you need to be able to read your residents, you need to be able to get on with your residents. But you also have to have that line where you can say, “Enough is enough.”