2020 is a year that our grandchildren will talk about. A year like no other, for us it will be remembered for many reasons, and not just the most obvious.
It has been a year of extreme lows but also extreme highs.
The year started with the delivery of our newest technology addition from Tyromotion for our upper limb services – The Amadeo – a device that has the capability to sense and evaluate changes in minute movement in the fingers. There are very few devices on the market that are sensitive enough to do this. What this means for our clients is they can get real time feedback about their movements and use that to help build on their ability to actively engage their fingers and ultimately improve function.
In February we were overjoyed to find out Advance Rehab Centre was a finalist in 4 categories in the Australian Small Business Champion Awards, including Business of the Decade (the winners are still be announced)! Meanwhile, we had the growing excitement of an imminent move into our brand new clinic.
However, just weeks away from our big move, we were hearing from our friends, families and colleagues overseas about the impact of the growing COVID-19 Pandemic. Almost overnight, our situation changed, with a lockdown and international advice to stay at home. It was a time of huge uncertainty and fear for many of our clients and staff. Initially we did not know what this meant for our new clinic.
We are so proud of the hardwork, resilience and innovation of our team over this time and for pulling together and embracing the challenges we were facing. We had a 70% uptake to telehealth sessions and expanded our online group timetable and our home based services to offer clients as much flexibility as possible – to keep active and healthy over an otherwise very isolating time. The dedication and support shown by our therapists and admin team to assist clients with a transition to online services was truly humbling and we are so proud of our clients for embracing a new era of online therapy.
The long awaited move to 5 George Place was able to proceed at the end of March. The huge upgrade in facilities certainly brought us joy at a very difficult time. We had a large, spacious and sparkling clean clinic and office. For a number of our clients their first tour of the new space was virtual!
We feel very proud and fortunate that since then, we have continued to grow. We know that we are not through the Pandemic yet, but we are certainly stronger for getting through 2020 together.
Over the course of 2020 we provided just over 25,000 sessions and welcomed 20 new staff members to the team. Sadly, we have also said farewell to 8 staff – 4 of whom have relocated home or to be with family due to COVID, 3 who have moved on to other career opportunities and Sue, our Operations Manager, who retired. Within the team we also welcomed 4 babies, 3 pregnancies, had 1 wedding and 3 houses purchased!
The development of telehealth has enabled people nationally (and even internationally) to access our therapy services. Our evening lecture series has grown significantly with the introduction of webinars improving therapists’ access to online education. We are proud to now be hosting lectures from guest speakers twice a month. We have seen our Allied Health Assistant grow throughout 2020 and we’re now lucky to have 5 wonderful assistants in our team working alongside our clients and therapists. We have continued to award our ‘gold stars’ to clients and sharing their inspirational stories with our wider community via social media and our monthly e-newsletter. It is these stories and achievements that spur us all on.
In April, Melissa McConaghy and the PD Warrior team hosted their 3rd Insight into Parkinson’s online conference. It became the largest conference for Parkinson’s ever held with almost 10,000 people registered and raising $130,000 for Parkinson’s charities world-wide. In May, our team took part in The Push-Up Challenge – completing more than 29,875 push ups and raising funds for Headspace – a charity that’s important now more than ever before. In June we introduced ‘The Myro’ to our growing technology suite. It offers simple, through to complex, cognitive training such as daily planning and routines and shape recognition and reproduction. Our Physio’s love to use it too to train upper limb motor skills and co-ordination and accuracy of movement. July saw Jo-Anne Bennett’s Housing Solutions Team and ARC host another online conference – ‘SDA Insight’ –the first of its kind for participants wanting to know more about Special Disability Accommodation in Australia. It was opened by the Hon. Stuart Robert and nearly 1000 people registered. It brought industry leaders together with participants directly.
Other stand out events over 2020 include: launching our MS Online program; introducing our virtual cycling club; celebrating National Carers Week; setting up and delivering our ARC mentoring program to allied health professionals working rurally and remotely; launching ARCademy (our education hub for healthcare professionals) with nearly 1200 members already registered; being shortlisted as finalists for the HESTA Outstanding Organisation Award; and collectively we’ve been in the news or on TV 4 times this year representing FND, Parkinson’s and the LEXO.
The LEXO….! We were so excited and honoured to finally announce the launch of the LEXO Robotic Gait Trainer on World Stroke Day in October. We are the only clinic in Australia to have one and we had been waiting months to have this incredible piece of technology installed (which was done virtually via Zoom in the end!). The feedback from clients and therapists since it was launched has been excellent, with improvements reported both subjectively and physically.
After the success of 2019’s ARC Values Awards, we finished off 2020 with our now annual awards ceremony. Each award is based on one of our 4 core values and our team nominated a colleague they believed had gone above and beyond in 2020 for each value. This year we also introduced the Inaugural People’s Choice Award – with our wonderful clients nominating members of the ARC team that had gone above and beyond to make their lives a little easier.
The 2020 award winners were….
The Ken Sackville Care Award – Eileen; The Anne-Maree Innovation Award – Jason; The Kathryn Briggs Teamwork Award – Sarah T; The Don Stammer Excellence Award – Katharina.; The Causley People’s Choice Award – Anna. Congratulations!!
So all in all, a huge and memorable year for ARC and we thank you all for being a part of it with us and for the constant support from our wonderful team, clients and colleagues in the field.
We cannot wait to see what 2021 has in store and to share these moments with you.