Hybrid meeting gives certainty in uncertain times

Inaugural National Congress on Food, Nutrition and the Dining Experience in Aged Care 2021

Fast facts

Event: Aged Care Congress 2021
Date: 18-19 February, 2021
Format: Hybrid event (online + in-person)
Venue: ICC Sydney

Online attendees

In-person attendees

Border closure pre-event

Challenges
Holding an event in the middle of a global pandemic meant numerous unpredictable hurdles and last-minute solutions for the National Congress on Food, Nutrition and the Dining Experience in Aged Care. It was, however, critical that the event proceed, given ongoing issues regarding standards emerging from the aged care sector and a desire from host Maggie Beer to address this by gathering industry insight.

In order for the Congress to go ahead, organisers had to factor in uncertainties over border closures in the planning process and facilitate both virtual and physical attendance. Fast action was required with Victoria announcing a snap five-day lock-down just prior to the event beginning – this meant the two key contacts from the Maggie Beer Foundation were suddenly unable to attend.

Solutions
Constant communication and flexibility were key, and the Digital Conference Organising (DCO) team was up for the challenge. The virtual platform was tailored to the Congress’ specific needs, including the facilitation of multiple simultaneous online group workshops, which were a crucial element of the event. The solution ensured the smooth-running of the Congress and allowed delegates in lock-down to still attend, benefit from the discussions and provide their important input into the workshop sessions. This included the two main contacts at the Maggie Beer Foundation, who were unable to make it to Sydney for the event.

Outcomes
The hybrid Congress welcomed more than 70 in-person attendees and more than 60 virtual attendees. The attendance of high-level representatives from across the sector allowed the Maggie Beer Foundation to gather a comprehensive report of findings which has since been delivered to Government. The report identified 56 findings and 139 recommendations which will influence future Government policy for food and nutrition in aged care.

quote Congratulations … [on] the delivery of a ground-breaking hybrid Congress event. This event incorporated live and virtual attendees, international and local speakers, a Minister from the Government, celebrities and representatives of peak bodies from around Australia. It incorporated presentations, panel discussions and workshop sessions, all of which requires strong technical and management support.”

 

Peter Kenny, Chairman, Maggie Beer Foundation