Hospital staff recycle bottles to help meet need of older patients

STAFF at Auburn Hospital have recycled 1,700 bottles to raise money to help vulnerable patients in the aged care temporary stay unit at Auburn Hospital.

They raised the money to purchase clocks and build communication boards for each room, which can help reduce confusion in patients with dementia and encourage more meaningful conversations.
The 20-bed unit cares for elderly people awaiting aged care facility placement or major modifications to their home – more than 90 per cent of patients have dementia.
The funds were raised through the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Return and Earn initiative, which offers community members a 10 cent refund per recycled bottle.
Nurse Priya Narayan says patients are treated like family on the ward.
“The clocks help patients feel less confused and more relaxed, while the white boards capture more patient-centred information for us such as favourite conversation topics,” Priya said.
“Patients and families have also been using the boards in creative ways, leaving messages for the staff and their loved ones. Little things like how a patient likes their tea can make a big difference.”
The bottle collection is ongoing, and staff use additional funds to buy toiletries for patients who don’t have family or friends to help, helping to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect during what can be a challenging transition process.
The unit was awarded ‘initiative of the month’ by the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Nursing & Midwifery Clinical Practice and Innovation team.
Auburn Hospital nursing and midwifery director Kate Murphy says the nursing team are highly dedicated to providing excellent quality care and attention to the aged care patients and their families.