“I think it's really easy (watching the media that’s on aged care at the moment) to look at things from a negative angle. What we see being in the innovation space in aged care, which is what innovAGEING highlights, is there's some really, really exciting things happening. So what's next for us is just to get out there and work with like-minded people, organisations that are ready to do things differently and help make peoples' lives better. “
In case you missed it, ExSitu were interviewed on ABC local radio on Thursday morning. We talked about innovation in aged care, and about who our services are available to. You can listen to the full interview at The ABC Illawarra website or view the transcript below.
Hint: The interview starts at 2:20 (the last 10 minutes of the Morning program).
Thanks for having us ABC Illawarra!
Thursday 4 July 2019
ABC Radio Illawarra: Mornings
Host: Tony Arthur
ABC Illawarra ExSitu Radio Interview
Radio host: So how do two nurses with a combined 45 years of experience providing care go to an Illawarra startup that began life only in January and is already the winner of a national Aged Care Innovation Award? The iAccelerated-based business, ExSitu, held off a strong field of finalists at the innovAGEING's National Awards for the development of business models through innovation; and ExSitu won the Improving Consumer Choice award at the annual event that encourages innovative businesses to be more consumer-centric in service delivery. The two women nurses behind it are April Creed and Rebecca Glover and they're both in the studio this morning. Good morning to you both. Thanks for coming in and congratulations!
Rebecca: Thank you, good morning.
Radio host: Tell us what this is - ExSitu. How did it begin and how does it work?
Rebecca: So ExSitu began out of an innovation challenge that IRT ran and we'd been based over at iAccelerate to work on how we can help solve the problem of people losing their identity when they're vulnerable and needing care. So we have created a web-based platform, which is used by people to -- It's kind of like a bit of a card game and some questions to communicate their core values and it puts it into documentation, so that can guide the direction of care that's received - so that we're looking less at peoples' clinical needs and more at who they are as a person and what's actually important to them.
Radio host: It benefits for both, then? You've got for the patients or the person needing the care, plus the carers. Tell us a little bit about your experience April, as a nurse, and how it brought you to this stage.
April: So I have had 25 years of being a registered nurse and also in the palliative sector as well as aged care, as well as being a care manager; and one of the most frustrating things I found is that people generally don't plan for ageing. They don't have conversations about what would happen should they lose their voice. So you end up with a person that quite often has to make a decision in crisis.
Radio host: A relative, a family member?
April: Either/or… or perhaps the individual themselves is frightened and feeling vulnerable. Their families may not be confident in making decisions for the person they love. And the person that needs to deliver that care, the provider, is starting with a blank map. So we thought that if you actually have really great conversations earlier and built granular insights, we could relieve both the pressure on the person, on their family and also the organisations delivering the care.
Radio host: Rebecca, your experience that brought you to this point?
Rebecca: So I was a carer for a long time in both residential care and in home care, as well as I have always had an interest in technology and how we can better utilise what's available in technology to improve the systems that we work in. So, yeah.
Radio host: And how did you meet each other and realise you were like-minded in trying to improve this situation?
April: [Laughs] Bec and I met during the challenge which was run by IRT. We started with two different ideas. Bec was working in the space of death and dying and I was looking at ideas around purpose, role and identity. It turned out that we were very similar. We're both very direct. We both have a good sense of humour.
April: And Bec and I chose to work with each other because we're both very dedicated and pretty hardcore about getting what we want done.
Radio host: Aged care is really under the spotlight at the moment and there are no doubt going to be a lot of changes as time rolls by. How will ExSitu fit into that?
April: This is a really exciting time for aged care. I understand that it's challenging, that standards have changed, the Royal Commission has highlighted really, really relevant insights in what we need to do. The biggest story is that the changes are now all about designing care around values and dignity. So what ExSitu does is it's so holistic, it bases everything on the person from the start and then talks about them building out in a map that you can put into care plans and truly talks what that person's values are. So it's relevant in that it helps organisations deliver what they need to stay viable and to meet accreditation, but it also gives back to the people that are being served by those organisations and it presents them as a holistic picture, not just a customer.
Radio host: It's a pretty whirlwind time for you, though. This all began in January and you're already winning an award for you. Are you surprised at the speed with which you've been able to create it and look at ways of adapting it and have it recognised by this award?
Rebecca: Yes and no. We're so busy working that we don't really think too much about what might happen in terms of awards or anything like that. We did start working on looking at the problem quite a while before January. We were incorporated in January. I think if you had have told us that would happen that quickly, we probably would have been surprised.
Radio Host: And I understand there were other aged care providers among the finalists. So this means there are a lot of people who are trying to make things better for people in the aged care sector; and is that why you mean it's an exciting time, April?
April: It is. I think that the finalists that we were with at that awards night, on a national level, were well-recognised organisations and they're obviously all trying really hard to look at what they do and how they can do it better; and to have these people actually making tangible change - we were proud to be with them and more proud to actually win - quite shocked, but proud.
Radio host: What becomes the next step, then?
Rebecca: Just get out there as much as we can. I think to also add to what April just said about the people in the room, I think it's really easy for - when you mentioned the media that's on aged care at the moment - to look at things from a negative angle, and what we see being in the innovation space, in aged care, which is what innovAGEING highlights, is there's some really, really exciting things happening. So what's next for us is just to get out there and work with like-minded people, organisations that are ready to do things differently and help make peoples' lives better.
Radio host: And for those in the sector, the patients, the people themselves; to use both expressions but also the staff working in the sector - how soon will they be able to tap into this and start using it to everyone's advantage?
April: We're ready now. We're actually out there, we're delivering the product and we're training facilitators, we're encouraging people to have conversations and we'll run as hard as needed to get this change across the sector.
Radio host: Is there support for it? Do you need financial support? Is that there?
Rebecca: Yeah, we're at the early stage where financial support is always on the cards, but we will make do. We're pretty determined people, so we will make do with whatever we have to get it out there. In terms of who this is available to - if your care provider is already working with us, then it's available to you now. If not, then you can go and request it from a lawyer. We're only just starting to work with lawyers now so that people can communicate their values earlier and also we're working really hard so that in the very near future this is available to anybody to be able to do with family members and loved ones in the comfort of their own home as well, so that people can communicate values early.
Radio host: And will it be easily transferable, nationally/internationally? Could this be taken up right around the world?
April: Definitely. I mean, state by state some of the infrastructure of the clinical documents changes, but we have actually used it in a way that it can be applied nationally. We're quite similar to New Zealand and in fact, we're looking at how Singapore is doing their ageing at the moment, so that we can translate across. We really want to make wide-scale change so that we can look globally and make ageing as beautiful as birth and make people empowered.
Radio host: And if representatives of aged care providers are listening to us now, how can they contact you and find out more?
Rebecca: They can get in touch with us on our website. There's a Contact Us form and there's a bit of information there about care providers. So get in touch with us. We're happy to meet and talk to anybody and help get it out there.
Radio host: And what is the website address?
April: So that's www.myexsitu.com
Radio host: And it's E-X-S-I-T-U.
Rebecca: That's correct.
Radio host: ExSitu. Congratulations to you both! It's quite a remarkable thing and as I say, with so much focus now on aged care and anything that can improve the aged care for people in the sector both working in it and living in it, that's a great thing! So congratulations. Keep up the good work. Thanks for coming and telling us about it.
Rebecca: Thank you so much.
April: Thank you for having us.
Radio host: April Creed and Rebecca Glover talking to us this morning here on the Morning Show. The iAccelerate based business, ExSitu, which held off the strong field of finalists at the innovAGEING's National Awards for the development of business models through innovation and they won the Improving Consumer Choice award.