Innovation in health and wellbeing is an award winning service

7 June 2016

Innovation in Service Awarded to Southern Cross Care Health & Wellness Centres

by Aged & Community Services


What a stunning achievement it is to first be nominated, then become a finalist and then win. Well done to everyone, however most importantly, congratulations to all Southern Cross Care finalists; we know how hard you have worked. Our ACS Awards Finalists were;

  • Aged Living Design (Oakfield Lodge)
  • Employee Award (Daniel Hope, JPII)
  • Innovation in Service (Health & Wellness Centres)


On the Awards night itself, our Health & Wellness Centres were recognised by Aged & Community Services for their Innovation in Service. In other words, we won!

Kate Kameniar, who headed up the Health & Wellness Centre implementation said, “Well done and thank you to everyone at SCC! It's wonderful to be part of such an inspiring, creative and hard working team who are bringing the Health & Wellness Centres to life and lovely for this to be recognised by the industry.”

After the event, Tony Piccolo MP said, “The Light Electorate is fortunate to have a number of high quality retirement and nursing care villages. So it was not surprise to see to see one of the local providers Southern Cross Care SA&NT winning at the Aged & Community Service SA & NT Inc 2016 Awards of Excellence. Southern Cross Care won the Innovation in Service Award for their Health and Wellness Centres and Daniel Hope for being a finalist in the Employee Award. “


The reason we won? At Southern Cross Care we support healthy ageing for our customers. It’s all about “making healthy normal”.

Southern Cross Care has been implementing Health & Wellness Centres (gyms) in our residential care homes, which are coordinated by qualified fitness coordinators with the aim of improving/regaining people’s strength and fitness. Our focus to promote quality of life for our residents is through healthy ageing interventions that support their physical health, social relationships, psychological and spiritual wellbeing, their environment and possibilities for empowerment. Person-centred planning is also used to get to know what is important to each resident, to identify their desires and goals, and then to select appropriate health promoting activities and opportunities to meet these needs. With an average of 200 visits per week across the first 6 centres, 90% of the residents attending said their quality of life has improved since they started attending and 86% reported feeling stronger.

In words of Andrew Larpent, Southern Cross Care CEO, ‘Initial results have been nothing short of outstanding and demand from residents has far surpassed our expectations. The organisation has been averaging more than 200 attendances per week across all 6 centres. Once residents see the positive impact of the recovery and exercise programs on their physical and mental health, they really become engaged with the process.’

The response from residents has been overwhelmingly positive with most sites increasing their opening hours to cope with demand. They say, 

‘…our bike is in constant use and people are wanting to come in on alternate days just to cycle and then do full program on the other day… many are setting themselves targets with time or distance on the bike and really setting themselves good, achievable goals and enjoy telling others how well they are doing’.

Residents are extending their times visiting…going from one to two and even three times’.

Our Lifestyle - Fitness Instructor at The Pines, Barbara Gutte said, “Determination and inspiration are the driving force for those who participate. There are those who have set a pace and this is helping others to follow. Residents have changed. Yes, they have become stronger, but more importantly for me is they are happier. And this is where I see the beauty of the centres, this is the holistic aspect. Self-esteem and self-worth is being built, friendships formed and previously challenging, difficult residents have soften. Yes, they still have their own uniqueness but the edges have been soften.”


So, where to from now? This (now award winning) Health & Wellness service initiative has shown to be sustainable and we are expected to open nine more centres in the next twelve months. 

It’s an attractive proposition and Southern Cross Care is increasingly attracting Fitness and Exercise students who want to complete their student placement work with us – including students completing their Diploma of Fitness, Human Movement and Postgraduate Clinical Exercise Physiology students. 

It’s a healthy future for the service and very deserving of the Innovation in Service Award.

Congratulations to the entire Health & Wellness team.