McLean Care will be attending the National Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) Awards in October for Hector Virtual Reality (VR).
The VR driving simulator, a collaboration project between McLean Care and Deakin University, was nominated for the state ACSA Aged Care Awards Innovation in Service or Design category.
Hector VR took out top spot at the awards night last Thursday and will progress as a finalist for nationals.
McLean Care decided to nominate the VR simulator to promote local initiatives in helping older drivers by harnessing emerging VR technology to give other drivers an opportunity to practice in a safe, low-risk environment.
McLean Care's Kathryn McKinlay said the win demonstrated the service's ongoing commitment to providing quality support to older people in the communities they serve.
"We're very proud to be part of McLean Care and the development of the world's first mixed reality driving simulator." Hector VR is housed in a custom-built room at McLean Care's Killean site in Inverell. It is available for use by the general community, including referrals from medical practitioners, within the New England and North West region.
"The Hector VR Project was developed with the capability to monitor and record driver performance information using a series of health and performance metrics during the virtual driving experience.
"Hector VR offers older drivers the opportunity to experience virtual driving scenarios using cutting edge VR technology. The project was funded through a grant from the Department of Health."
Users may choose to practice driving, test their relative driving skills to see if they would pass elements of a "real-life" driving test or simply enjoy exploring the virtual world.
With the support of trained staff, older people participating in the simulator are immersed in the experience of "driving" a virtual vehicle through popular locations in Inverell. "It has been a big year for aged care and it's important that we identify and acknowledge the exceptional work of providers," said Darren Mathewson, acting chief executive of ACSA.