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Purpose led

In 1980, almost no other aged care organisation in Australia was cognisant of Social Role Valorisation (SRV) theory which would go on to be and remain the bedrock of ACH Group’s purpose and values.

While SRV theory had foundations in disability, author Dr Wolf Wolfensberger had always said it applied to ageing.

The essence of SRV theory, a complicated and layered concept, is that what matters most in people’s lives is that they continue to have roles that contribute to family, community, and society. Roles are what deliver the good things in life – networks, friendships, personal growth.

Aged Cottage Homes acknowledged that when people age, their roles are taken away, particularly when they move into residential care.

Former CEO Mike Rungie, who worked alongside John Pitchford and was employed with ACH Group for more than 30 years, said:

“What John did at Milpara was very clever, he implemented SRV theory into the design of home to promote roles. He took spaces that had looked like waiting rooms – like what you see in hospitals – and turned them into kitchens, lounge rooms, sheds, sewing rooms which had functions. There was a definite change in behaviour of residents, their families, and volunteers. Roles were further created with residents being provided choice, they were given a menu so they could choose their daily meals, asked how they wanted to spend their day and when they wanted medical visits.”

Residents of Milpara sewing curtains for their lounge rooms in 1985. An example of how rooms at Milpara were converted to engaging spaces which support residents to have roles.
Not only was there investment of SRV theory into the built form, but a purposeful and strong focus on training and coaching staff – especially frontline staff supporting residents and customers – on the importance of roles, real experiences, reablement and right relationships.

Joyleen Thomas, who worked for ACH Group for 40 years including as Values in Action Project Coordinator, said: “We can talk about the good we do until the cows come home… but do we know our impact if we’re not listening to residents, customers and their families? That’s why the customer impact project was created in 2005, using peer reviews of services we understood the actual impact of services on the lives of older people to drive improvement.”

Guided by SRV theory and informed by over 2,000 conversations with older people and validated through research with Adelaide University, ACH Group’s ‘Good Lives Philosophy’ was born in 2006.

The philosophy identified six key elements of what makes a good life.

“There was a feeling that we needed to formalise our values. We brought in people from outside of the organisation to explore the theory and build the way of thinking for Good Lives,” Joyleen said.

In 2022, ‘Good Lives’ continues to inspire ACH Group’s every move.

Trudy Sutton worked with ACH Group from 2008 to 2021 in several leadership roles with a focus across residential and community care. Trudy said Good Lives was way ahead of the curve in terms of listening to people and acknowledging what they wanted to achieve.

“In aged care there is a tendency to try and protect older people, but that is not a real life. Fifteen years ago, Good Lives was talking about supporting residents and customers to make choices, engaging in experiences that could carry a risk, supporting them to make their own choices. Now this thinking is right throughout the aged care standards.” Trudy Sutton

West Park community
Yvonne and Brian Davies, and Dorothy Wheatland with presents to be donated to Goolwa children.
Read The ACH Group Story, reflecting on the past and present, and look to the future.

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14 hours ago

Welcome to our ‘Rock & Roll era’. 🧑‍🎤

At Highercombe, residents and staff stepped back to the 1950s, listening to the catchy melodies that turned the music world upside down in their days!

With those upbeat rhythms and iconic tunes, we were all transported back to a time of boundless energy and a rebellious spirit. It's still so much fun, connecting the different generations, and reminding everyone of the joy that music brings across ages and backgrounds.

As Elvis would say… Thank you, thank you very much! 🕺
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Welcome to our ‘Rock & Roll era’. 🧑‍🎤
 
At Highercombe, residents and staff stepped back to the 1950s, listening to the catchy melodies that turned the music world upside down in their days! 
 
With those upbeat rhythms and iconic tunes, we were all transported back to a time of boundless energy and a rebellious spirit. Its still so much fun, connecting the different generations, and reminding everyone of the joy that music brings across ages and backgrounds. 
 
As Elvis would say… Thank you, thank you very much! 🕺Image attachmentImage attachment+7Image attachment