Sharon Callister

Sharon Callister

The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus, Australia

Title: Person centred approaches in commissioning memory support units


Sharon has qualifications in Nursing, Business and Health Administration and graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She began her leadership journey at St.Vincent’s Hospital, followed by The Australian Red Cross Blood Service. In 2006, She secured her first CEO role with Benetas Anglican Aged Care Services. In 2008 she moved to Sydney to become the CEO for The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus where under her leadership she has developed it into a thriving $120m service caring for 1700 older Australians. With more to give, in 2012 She took on an additional CEO role to lead The Salvation Army Humanitarian Mission Services delivering a $75m Federal Government contract, managing welfare for Asylum Seekers at Nauru and Manus Island. Sharon’s leadership has been recognized by many and in 2012 was a finalist in the NSW Telstra Businesswoman of the Year and was included in the 2012 Westpac/Financial Review 100 Women of Influence Awards. She is also known to ‘run for her life’ in 250km ultra marathons that tests physical and mental endurance; qualities contributing to her successful leadership journey.


This presentation will focus on our model for families admitting their loved ones into a newly commissioned residential service. The person centered approach within our memory support units ensures that residents who require a secure environment as a result of significant cognitive impairment are cared in a manner which is holistic, provides opportunity to stimulate the senses and evokes a calming atmosphere. Our model and framework is focussed on individualistic needs of residents and attitudes of staff operating within a family / community framework. Evaluation has shown that key success factors are: •Initial set-up, training and mentoring of staff is critical and should be self-sustaining, (i.e., positive role-modelling at the ground level, education and setting standards of care and expectations of staff behaviour which creates a positive culture of care) •Continuity of staff encourages staff engagement. Staff feeling valued in their role is a key component to resident, representative satisfaction and quality of life. •Staff attitude – staff demonstrate a high level of respect for residents resulting in tangible physical, emotional and spiritual outcomes for residents. •A high awareness of individual resident's needs and resulting behavioural responses by staff towards resident's increases the bond of trust and co-operation, whilst meeting a deep emotional need for residents. •The creation of a homely, emotionally and physically safe environment which is individualistic in nature. •Involvement and inclusion of relatives in the day-today running and activities of the unit. •High levels of activities and the opportunity for residents to engage in familiar every day activities via sensory areas