What does quality of life mean to you?

We all have differing views of what contributes to a high-quality of life. But things like our dignity, choice, independence, comfort, safety, and community are high on everyone’s list.

Often, we assess our quality of life by comparing our expectations with our memories of better times. Silverchain wants your help to learn what our clients think makes their lives better so we can design support to help our clients to achieve a higher quality of life, in the way that has meaning for them. 

Receiving health or aged care at home can contribute greatly to a high quality of life. People can maintain their independence, there is an increased focus on their comfort and community connections, and dignity and choice are highly valued. Silverchain is committed to further improving home care, and ensuring it is welcome choice for those needing care while improving their quality of life. 

Our Research and Innovation team is keen to partner with you, our clients, and the wider community to understand how to enrich everyday wellbeing for those receiving care at home. 

We have identified clear common themes in what our community expects from the aged care system. These are: dignity and respect, control and choice, the importance of relationships and connections to communities, and the desire for a good quality of life while ageing at home.

With your help, we can explore how quality-of-life impacts health outcomes and how we can integrate, encourage, measure and monitor quality in our services to ensure our legacy of care continues into the next generation.

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My quality of life, the Silverchain

I want you to meet Nelly, one of the many clients whose lives have changed through the care and support of Silverchain nurses and care workers. 

Nelly first contacted Silverchain just over five years ago after being referred to our services by her local Aboriginal Medical Services GP, for daily diabetes management support. 

For several years Nelly was managing her diabetes with family support. Still, like many Australians, her diabetes became more challenging to manage over time. Sadly, it resulted in the amputation of some of her toes following complications, and this was the catalyst for Nelly to regain control of her health and wellbeing. 

During our first meeting with Nelly, with the support of her daughter, she decided what care would work best for her. While unsure if getting nursing help from Silverchain was the right fit for her, Nelly decided to give it a go, and her care plan began with twice-weekly visits from our nurse Michelle. 

With each visit, Nelly’s blood sugar was measured and recorded, and advice provided to her, such as making sure that her insulin was taken at the same time every day. After a few weeks, it became clear that her blood sugar levels fluctuated, which often coincided with the days where she had forgotten her medication.

“During one of my visits, Michelle told me that she felt I could use a bit more help in keeping the diabetes under control, and she offered to visit more often. Now I can’t wait until she shows up so I can have a yarn”. 

With nursing visits becoming a daily routine, Nelly started to see significant improvements in how she felt every day. It became clear that it wasn’t just the diabetes management that was making a difference in her daily quality of life, but also the quality of the relationship she had built up with Michelle. 

Thanks to Michelle and Nelly’s growing partnership in managing her diabetes, that was built over the first three months, Nelly felt more comfortable opening up about what she missed most as she got older, and what she thought could make her life better. 

One of the things that Nelly found more difficult to do since she lost full mobility was shopping and cooking. She found that not being able to do this regularly for her extended family really impacted her happiness. At the age of 63, Nelly is now supported with nursing care and a home care package, that combines both her nursing and support with cooking and cleaning. Her care has changed over the years to best suit her everyday needs and preferences. 

“I love cooking for my family. Thanks to Silverchain, I can do that again, and pass my knowledge to the younger generation.”

Nelly has seen a welcome improvement in her quality of life since starting with Silverchain, but it took a long time to determine how to improve her services in the best way possible. For example, Nelly’s quality of life is intertwined with her family and health, but this might not be the case for all clients. With your help, we can introduce a better method of finding out what our clients are missing, and what would improve their quality of life from the very beginning.

Enriching life with new friendships

Consistent support in living his life the way he wants is paramount for our Rockingham social centre client, Bernie. 

As a client of Silverchain for the past four years, Bernie is one of our regular attendees at the social centre and a great advocate for what he and the clients want from their visits. 

“They ask you what you want to do, and if they don’t have it, they’ll go out and get it for us, which is fantastic; they would bend over backwards to help you.” 

For Bernie, his quality of life is tied strongly to spending time with people and being part of a community. Before starting with Silverchain social support services, he and his wife Yvonne felt isolated and lonely at home.

“Since I started coming to the centre, I’ve made a bunch of new mates, and can’t wait to see them each week. I know a lot of the other blokes look forward to it the same as I do.”

“If this ever closed down, mate, I think I’d give up.” 

Clients like Bernie partnering with Silverchain helps us understand what services mean to the individual. Bernie is a prime example of someone whose quality of life has improved by aged care services and will help us develop our research. 

“My needs with Silverchain are met 100%. I couldn’t ask for more.”

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We need your help to continue improving our services in every possible way. One of the first steps to providing a better service for our clients is getting the details from them on what they think will improve their quality of life, and this project will give us the means and methods to do exactly that.

Your timely donation will make this project possible; you can help us understand how Silverchain services can improve and grow with our clients to ensure high quality of life.

If you agree that quality of life should not be measured only by the number of pressure injuries or falls but by the quality and personal connection that services can provide for individuals, please support us today.

If you'd like to support us, donate here or find out about other ways you can get involved.

If you donate today, together, we can discover the answers to providing better care for people like Nelly and Bernie. Currently there is no tool to measure the quality of life of someone receiving in home health and aged care services, but you have the ability to change that.

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