Wow - a big thankyou to everyone who contributed to making our virtual conference so successful. A special thankyou to Diana and her son David for the zoom controls and Jodie at the office for managing the calls coming through the office, and members of the board for introducing presenters and availing themselves for questions and discussion at the end of each day. The presenters all did an awesome job of managing their own audiovisuals, where usually we would have someone dedicated just to that role for a conference. We have over 80 responses to the conference survey but if you have not completed it is yet please do so in the next week or so, then we can collate your feedback for planning future educational opportunities.
On the first day we had 124 people and the second day 114. Considering we did not anticipate needing the conference to go virtual until June or July it was an exceptional effort by all, to still achieve this milestone so well done. Jacqueline’s keynote address was awesome and framing the theme of the conference and really gave us the opportunity to reflect on what we are currently doing in practice, and the possibility of what we could do to improve our own workplaces. Kate and Julieanne identified the benefits of diversional therapy in reducing agitation of clients with dementia. A special thanks also to Meredith, Pauline and Sally who kicked off day 2 with their talk supporting diversity and wellness for the older LGBTI people, with some thought provoking examples about leisure and diversity. Most of the presentations illuminated back to the importance of knowing your clients and client centred practice.
In other news we have been looking at collaborating with different organisations with various agendas, however all to support and promote our professional identity. These include computer software developers and programs, and upcoming discussions with Dementia Australia about how we can collaborate together.
I have also included Senator Richard Colbeck’s, the Federal Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, response to the retention bonus, to use as you see fit. Unfortunately, it still does not appear to give us more clarity. From one perspective, at a federal level we are considered allied health. From another perspective, he states that those that have direct contact with clients are eligible for the bonus and perhaps this does come down to a title - leisure and lifestyle staff are entitled to the bonus but if the title diversional therapist is used you lose that entitlement. It really is dependant on interpretation, unfortunately.
Save the date - The Annual General Meeting this year will be held over zoom. It will be on Tuesday November 17th at 7pm. There are a number of vacancies for state representatives including WA, NT and SA. I encourage you to contact the office if you live in these states and ask for a nomination form to be part of the DRTA board. The appointment would be for a period of three years. There would be an expectation of dedicating a couple of hours per fortnight to work on board related activities.
All the best