From the mountains of Nepal to Liscombe House, Ritu takes everything in her stride

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From the mountains of Nepal to Liscombe House, Ritu takes everything in her stride

July 19, 2021

Ritu Paudel is a familiar face around Liscombe House. She joined OCAV in May 2018 as a Registered Nurse, and now combines nursing with coordinating the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) for the organisation.

“I love nursing and I love being at Liscombe House and being around older people,” Ritu said.

“Working as an aged care nurse means a lot to me as I didn’t get the chance to spend much time with my own grandparents who are no longer alive. Working in this environment gives me the sense of being around them.”

Ritu was born in Nepal, and lived in many of the country’s big cities such as Pokhara, Kathmandu, Nepalgunj, Palpa and Beni as well as in the Terai plains. She came to Australia for further study in 2008 having completed three years of training as a nurse in Nepal.

Going into the profession was an easy option for her: her older sister is a nurse and, as far as Ritu is concerned, nursing in the most respected profession.

Her first job in Australia was in a private aged care facility in Sydney as a Personal Care Attendant. There she also studied Advanced Diploma in Business Management, successfully completed the Initial Registration for Overseas Registered Nurses in 2012 and started working as a Registered Nurse.

“I worked for the same aged care provider for over seven years in various roles. Sydney was getting too busy for me and I moved with my husband to Melbourne,” Ritu said.

Aged care nursing was an unknown to Ritu because there were no similar services in Nepal as traditionally it is the responsibility of ffamily members to care for the elderly within the extended family home.

As coordinator of ACFI, Ritu is also involved in assessing each resident’s level of care based on their daily living activities, behaviour and complex health care needs, and submitting the claim to Medicare.

She is also part of the ENJOY research program for independence in dementia currently underway at Liscombe House in collaboration with the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI).

The program aims to design, deliver and test a physical activity program for older people living with mild to moderate stage dementia using the Seniors Exercise Park. The research is looking at what is the best physical activity program, and what safety issues and supervision are needed.

“My role is to support the NARI team to conduct the initial and ongoing clinical assessment. The lessons emerging even now are considerable, and the final findings will be useful across the aged care sector. I’m delighted to be an author on one of the first papers from the research,” Ritu said.

While Ritu works three days a week at Liscombe House, she remains as busy as ever at home. She has a four-year-old boy who keeps her busy, learning new skills each day including who the latest favourite superheros are.

“Apart from that, I am also enrolled in Masters of Disability Practice on part-time basis.”

Sanctuary is how artist Gillian Coates describes her home at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa. “When I go to Melbourne and I am heading back to Euroa, I can’t wait to get home to the peacefulness of this place. It is like a sanctuary for me."

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