Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

A Tenterfield maintenance team are the unsung heroes of aged care, going above and beyond, forging friendships and keeping residents safe during emergencies, even bushfires.

Recent fires came within 4km of the Tenterfield Care Centre, but the maintenance team worked ‘like the glue that keeps everything together’, team manager Clay Blyth recalled.

“We had to make sure we had enough food and water on site, work closely with the council and emergency services in case further action needed to be taken, and make sure we had enough oxygen and fuel to operate our generators,” Clay said.

While the aged care spotlight primarily illuminates the roles of nurses and direct caregivers, the work of the maintenance team greatly contributes to the daily comfort and well-being of the 83 residents.

Under Clay’s leadership as maintenance and building services manager for the past three years, team members, Jay Dobbin, Ricky Small and Madeline Wait, perform a wide range of jobs.

From meticulously tending the gardens to maintaining common areas with precision, they strive to create an environment that is not just functional but radiates homely comfort.

Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) CEO Tom Symondson said, “Maintenance teams represent the often-overlooked guardians of aged care homes whose commitment extends well beyond routine repairs.”

“While direct care workers and some non-direct care workers recently received a 15 percent pay rise, many others in the industry did not and these include maintenance team members like Clay and his team. Other aged care workers in administration roles, laundry, gardening and catering staff also missed out.”

“All of these workers have a very important role to play in the provision of excellent care and their work should be of equal value.”

“We’d also like to congratulate Clay on his nomination in the ACCPA You are ACE! Excellence awards and wish him and his team all the best for the awards finals in August.”

Clay said he was humbled to receive an ACCPA You are ACE! nomination for the work he does which he shares with his team.

A typical day for the team begins with ensuring any emergency work is attended to first, followed my
working in the gardens and grounds.

“We aim to create a facility that feels like a resident’s home,” said Clay.

“We are all quite close with residents.”

“We always say hello to staff, residents and visitors and it just comes back to creating that home-like feeling and good morale within the facility.”

“It’s hard for me to walk 10 metres without having a conversation with a resident. They have wonderful stories to tell.”

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