Auburn nurse recycling spree helps elderly patients

Temporary stay unit nurses Kuldip Grewal, Priya Narayan and Harry Ran with nurse unit manager Melelatai Maumalanga (second from right) show off a few of the thousands of bottles they have recycled.

Staff have recycled an epic 1,700 bottles to raise money for vulnerable patients in the aged care temporary stay unit at Auburn Hospital.

The staff collectively raised over $150 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 the 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 said 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’ in a ceremony for their efforts by the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Nursing & Midwifery Clinical Practice and Innovation team.

The ward received ‘initiative of the month’ for their creative efforts. Staff take turns recycling the bottles for cash, ensuring the project is a team effort.

Auburn Hospital nursing and midwifery director Kate Murphy said she was very proud of the staff.

“This nursing team are highly dedicated to providing excellent quality care and attention to our aged care patients and their families, and the work they do in partnership with our wonderful medical and allied health team is second to none,” Kate said.

“To have their efforts recognised by the District with this award is a wonderful acknowledgment of their commitment to our CORE values of collaboration, openness, respect and empowerment, and consumer-centred care.”

The initiative of the month started in February and is awarded to teams throughout the district in recognition of work being done in all facilities and services.

The winners and other projects will be showcased at the WSLHD Nursing & Midwifery Clinical Practice and Innovation Roadshow in October.

Click here find out more or nominate an initiative worthy of celebration.