Pembroke Lodge Aged-Care Service

02 August 2016

Private Members’ Statement

Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields) (12:52): As a member of Parliament one gets to meet so many decent, hardworking people in one's electorate. It takes a special kind of person to be engaged as an aged-care nurse. Patience, compassion and a healthy dose of humour are the kinds of attributes that help to bring comfort and care to thousands of elderly people, and certainty to the families concerned about the quality of that care across our State each and every day. Last month I visited residents, relatives and special guests at the aged-care facility Pembroke Lodge, Minto to bid farewell to Lorraine Rushbrook, the outgoing facility manager. In joining this community, it became immediately apparent to me that the caring nature of the nursing staff is of a high standard. The staff there see their role as more than just a profession but rather as a personal passion to care for others less physically able than themselves.

Lorraine was retiring after 11 years at the facility, having taken the reins when Pembroke Lodge first opened its doors in 2005. After more than 40 years of nursing, Lorraine had decided it was time to focus the rest of her time on enjoying and being with her family. Patients and her professional staff told some very personal stories about Lorraine and the joy she brought to them. They were genuinely touching speeches. It was apparent to me that this was no ordinary staff retirement farewell but one filled with sincerity and a touch of sadness. Given the attendance of residents and staff at the farewell party, it was clear that Lorraine had touched many people's hearts over the years. During her time at Pembroke Lodge, Lorraine had welcomed more than 400 residents, taking on the responsibility of care with boundless energy and a passion for looking after others. It was no wonder there was not a dry eye in the house that day.

I have come to know Lorraine over the years and I can say that she is one of the kindest and most humble people I have met, always armed with a smile and ready for a chat. Lorraine developed a rapport with many of the residents and their families, often going beyond her professional duties to deliver an extraordinary quality of care. It was no wonder then that no-one really wanted her to retire. I would like to acknowledge Lorraine's commitment to the wellbeing of the residents of Pembroke Lodge. Lorraine was always determined to provide personal, physical and emotional support to the residents, while respecting the rights and preserving the dignity of all those residing at Pembroke Lodge. Whenever necessary, Lorraine became both confidante and advocate for the residents, developing a rapport with each and every one of them and their loved ones. In fact, Lorraine saw her role as the mother of the Pembroke Lodge family, displaying a genuine interest in the positive dynamics of every resident and taking pride in sustaining a caring and nurturing home environment. Indeed, there is no better reflection of Lorraine's contributions than a poem penned by 93-year-old Pembroke Lodge resident, Phyllis Fox, a part of which reads:

We are sad to say goodbye—we will miss you lots,

It's hard to speak when our hearts are in knots

But we will remember your hugs and your kind smiles

And the cheerful way you solved our trials.

Most of all, your sympathetic love

When residents have been called above.

Please, accept our gratitude and praise

And enjoy your well-earned 'Retirement Days'.

I share the sentiments of Phyllis and all of the Pembroke Lodge residents, families and friends in wishing Lorraine all the very best for her retirement. I know that Lorraine's hard work will continue in many other ways in our community as she will still help those in need, particularly our elderly. I look forward to seeing Lorraine, who is a resident of my electorate, around the traps and I wish her and her family all the very best for the future.