The World Health Organisation designated 2021 as the International Year of the Health and Care Worker to recognise the dedication and sacrifice of the millions of health and care workers at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic. Timothy Watkins, who is the Aged Care Funding Instrument (“ACFI”) Champion and a Care Service Employee at Carpenter Court Aged Care Centre in Merewether, NSW, was nominated by his Manager as one employee of The Salvation Army Aged Care who best embodies this.

Timothy was humbled to be nominated. “It’s great receiving the recognition for the extra work needed to keep delivering the best quality care possible for residents, as it highlights how skilled and caring Aged Care staff are in handling this pandemic,” he said. He was inspired to become a health and care worker due to an overriding desire to help people to the best of his abilities, especially those less fortunate than himself. “I utilise all the skills I possess to facilitate this each day,” he says regardless of whether he is helping a resident or a staff member.

At Carpenter Court, Timothy mainly coordinates the ACFI processes and he finds it rewarding to be able to contribute to the lives of residents and the Centre in gaining necessary funding. “This allows the best possible outcomes for our residents by having extra resources and staffing, to provide the best care possible,” he explains. “It is also rewarding being able to build strong relationships with our residents and caring for them to the best of our ability.”

Timothy says that attracting the appropriate funding in order to meet the care needs of residents and thus the deadlines for the timely delivery of claims is one challenging aspect of his work. However, he says that he is inspired to be able to, “assist, help and respect” the residents at the Centre. “They are our elders who built this country we live in today,” he says. “It’s inspirational that they allow us as staff to care for them and build rewarding relationships in their twilight years.”

In terms of the pandemic, Timothy says that it has increased the level of care needed for residents, especially in those requiring mental health support. There are also legislative and procedural updates based on the evolving situation that also require attention. He would like to see some normalcy for residential aged care residents and for the impact of the pandemic to lessen.

Timothy decided to work in Aged Care as it gives him the best opportunity to utilise the skills and talent that he has in assisting and helping in every aspect of care that he is involved with. “Basically, I really enjoy helping people to the best of my ability,” he says. He transitioned from studying a Bachelor of Information Science at Newcastle University to a certificate in Medical Terminology which he completed in 2003, and a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) completed in 2016. The Salvation Army has also facilitated various courses for Timothy relating to ACFI from 2016 onwards.