Aged Care Employee Day: Whiddon Laurieton pays tribute to dedicated employee Kate Slater

Having a laugh: Kate Slater with Whiddon Laurieton resident Sheila Newman. Photo: supplied.
Having a laugh: Kate Slater with Whiddon Laurieton resident Sheila Newman. Photo: supplied.

Kate Slater says she enjoys putting a smile on the faces of residents at Whiddon Laurieton.

The Assistant in Nursing (AIN) has been working at the centre for over 13 years and has become well known for her colourful fashion style, which sparks conversations amongst the residents.

Whiddon Laurieton is celebrating Aged Care Employee Day (ACED) on Friday, August 7.

The official day was created in 2018 by the aged care organisation, to recognise and celebrate people who work in the industry.

Ms Slater said the elderly residents have many interesting stories to tell and weird quirks that she has fallen in love with.

At the moment the COVID-19 pandemic has meant aged care centres are bound by strict health regulations to protect residents.

"I go in everyday thinking they can't get out or see their family like they used to," Ms Slater said.

"I think I can do something to help brighten their day and in return I get to see their smiles."

Each day Ms Slater dons a colourful piece of clothing, wears something in her hair and often embraces odd socks.

Work friends: Whiddon Laurieton's registered nurse and TAFE teacher Nerida Wallace with Kate Slater. Photo: supplied.

Work friends: Whiddon Laurieton's registered nurse and TAFE teacher Nerida Wallace with Kate Slater. Photo: supplied.

Ms Slater thinks of the residents as her friends and enjoys building rapport with them.

She wants the wider community to value the experiences of elderly people and be accepting of their opinions.

When Ms Slater was a teenager she would help her nana get back onto her feet after she underwent operations.

The experience motivated Ms Slater to enter the aged care industry, as she wanted to help care for some of the most vulnerable in the community.

Whiddon Laurieton's director of care services George Fotoulis said their employees had gone above and beyond to ensure residents are kept safe, engaged and happy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We've had to really think outside of the box to ensure our residents remain engaged and connected with their loved ones," he said.

Mr Fotoulis said Ms Slater has knowledge and maturity beyond her role as an AIN.

"She is proactive, shows initiative and displays strong organisational skills," he said.

"Kate has a kind and caring nature who likes to have fun with the residents.

"She is a breath of fresh air, the residents love her and look forward to seeing what crazy outfit she will wear."

Whiddon Laurieton will celebrate the day with a socially distanced barbecue in the courtyard.

"The team deserve so much and this is just a small token to say thank you for the wonderful work they've done throughout the year, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic," Mr Fotoulis said.

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