October 2018

Making a Smooth Transition into Aged Care

Anyone who’s had a loved one move into a Residential Aged Care Home knows what a daunting experience it can be. For many, it comes with mixed emotions; some might be sad about leaving the family home, scared, or simply unwilling to accept that they need care — all of these are perfectly normal emotions for such a big decision. At St Patrick’s Green we recognise that some people need a little extra help transitioning into Aged Care, whether it be the new resident or their family. That’s why we have introduced a Transition Nurse role at our Aged Care Home in Kogarah, and it’s a game changer for the industry.

We’d like to introduce you to Michelle Pool, the Transition Nurse at St Patrick’s Green, who brings  
13 years’ experience in nursing, as well as an empathetic and caring nature. We’re proud to have her on board  to help our residents settle into life at the village.  
As Transition Nurse, Michelle buddies with new residents to orientate, clinically assess, answer questions, follow-up, and to be the first friendly face our residents get to know. 
When we spoke to Michelle, she said ‘Moving into our Aged Care Home is a big step, so I’m glad I can be here to make the transition smoother for our residents. Sometimes when they arrive, you can see in their face that they’re scared or overwhelmed with the change. My job is to make them feel at ease and listen to their concerns — it’s a role which suits my maternal nature. I spend their first day getting them settled in, and by the time I pop in for a follow-up the next day I usually get a smile and can see them starting to relax.’
On the first day our Transition Nurse will meet and greet the new resident, showing them around their suite, the Aged Care Home, and the village community areas. After that, Michelle will organise lunch in the Dining Room with the new resident and their family. ‘Having loved ones here for lunch on the first day creates a comfortable environment and helps our residents to settle in and become familiar with the village. Over the following weeks, I’ll continue to check in to help our resident organise anything that will make their life at St Patrick’s Green better,’ said Michelle.
Behind the scenes, our Transition Nurse also puts her RN skills to good use. On the first day, Michelle will complete all of the initial assessments, organise all of the resident’s medications, notify the pharmacy, and contact the GP. Once the new resident has begun to settle in, our Transition Nurse with facilitate connections between the resident, their family and our lifestyles team. Michelle will sit down with our lifestyles manager to discuss individual choices (activities and social needs) for the resident. Together with the resident and their family, the St Patrick’s Green team comes up with a specific plan that is individually tailored for the resident – we want our residents to live life the way they choose to at St Patrick’s Green.
When asked what her favourite moment at St Patrick’s Green has been so far, Michelle answered, ‘A few weeks ago a lady moved in and initially she really didn’t want to be here. She didn’t want to leave her home, her family was feeling guilty, and the lady was very quiet and reserved. Last week I called the family to check in and they told me “Oh, she really likes it there now, she wants to stay!” I was so happy to hear that she’s settled in nicely. I think once the shock of moving into an Aged Care Home wore off, she was able to realise that a lot of pressure has been taken off her; she doesn’t have to worry about meals anymore, or doing the washing or cleaning, she can just relax.’ 
Ensuring residents feel safe, comfortable and well-cared for is key to assisting with their transition process. ‘I enjoy working in Aged Care and building relationships with our residents and their families,’ said Michelle, and what more could we ask for from our Transition Nurse? After all, building strong relationships between our residents, their families, and our team members is the best way to make St Patrick’s Green feel like home. 
If you’d like to learn more about our Aged Care Home in Kogarah, or would like to book a tour for yourself or a loved one, call us today on 02 9097 9175 or email stpatricksgreen@greengate.com.au.