CREATING an environment where people can thrive is the driving force behind changes in the way Mercy Connect delivers its services.

To improve accommodation services team leaders have become active members of homes, ensuring the needs and choices of individual residents are a priority.

Chief executive officer, Damian Lacey said by placing team leaders in homes they were more able to develop a cohesive environment where both residents and staff were able to grow.

“One of the drivers for building this new business model has been to move towards a person-centred approach,’’ Mr Lacey said.

“As an organisation it is important that we designate front-line leaders to ensure people’s needs and choices are met.

“Developing a consistent environment for people to live in is very important.’’

There have been 10 team leaders appointed who will manage homes that accommodate more than 60 people with developmental disabilities in Albury.

“We are keen to see our leaders participate and work with the disability support workers,’’ he said.

“So having team leaders on site means they are on the front line and better able to work with individuals to give them the greatest level of choice and help them develop skills to the best of their ability.

“Already we are seeing positive signs of change.

“By having team leaders in the houses we can make sure people get the best support and their needs are met consistently.’’

Executive leader, clinical services, Caroline Cummins, said the new model was an excellent way of helping residents develop skills and support them in the way they wanted to live.

“We all have different abilities so we are now better able to identify what people are good at and where they need support to better manage the way they want to live,’’ she said.

“It’s about moving the service to driving from the front, identifying what people need, getting the dynamics right and looking after the individual.’’

She said the change to an active support system had already brought about positive benefits in the way residents and staff interacted.

For instance, Vickers 1 team leader, Sheryl Meredith had helped residents become more self-reliant and learn new skills so they were participating more actively in the day to day running of their home.

“There has been a lot of research that shows the benefit of people being meaningfully engaged in their lives,’’ she said.

“Studies have shown that by supporting people there can be real improvements in the quality of their lives, a reduction in challenging behaviour, a boost in their confidence and increased staff satisfaction.

“With team leaders in place we can work towards supporting people to live their lives and do the things we all want to do.

“People with a disability have dreams and aspirations and they have skills we can help develop.

“There are challenges ahead but there are also always lots of opportunities.”