Innovation in aged care is critically important, particularly given the recent focus on the sector. The Hunter’s Maroba Aged Care, under the stewardship of its CEO Viv Allanson OAM, is keenly focused on staying at the cutting edge of resident care. It’s working hard to provide residents with not only a caring, comfortable home, but holistic, effective services that improve their quality of life and support their independence.

While traditional services such as residential aged care and retirement accommodation remain Maroba’s focus, it has introduced a range of wellness and support services that are structured to support the older person.

One such service is the student-led speech pathology program which is integrated into Maroba’s resident care plan – and has been for the past 12 years.

Embarked upon as a pilot between Maroba and the University of Newcastle in 2012, the program initially aimed to help Speech Pathology undergraduate students complete their third-year requirement for work placement. Six months into the pilot, Viv and University of Newcastle Clinical Educator, Kristen Munro agreed that the cost-neutral program was mutually beneficial: participating students enjoyed it, engaged in genuine care activities and as a result learnt a lot whilst on-the-job at Maroba, while Maroba’s residents embraced the student-developed activities and showed (often significant) signs of improvement after participating in them.

Fast forward 12 years and the program is a mainstay of Maroba’s clinical service offering. Honed in partnership with the organisation’s multi-disciplinary teams and tailored for individual residents’ needs, it is delivering clear and trackable improvements in resident health, and it’s preventing illness.