Aged Care Division

Life with St Vincent’s Care Services

After a busy 2016-17 which saw the opening of three greenfield sites, the transition of two facilities from other providers to St Vincent’s, major extensions and refurbishment at a number of other facilities, and an increase in the delivery of our in-home Community Living services, 2017-18 was a year of consolidation.

Over the 12 months, St Vincent’s Care Services undertook a number of projects to help ensure the sustainability of its operations as well as augment services to residents, particularly in the areas of clinical care and lifestyle.

These initiatives include:

  • Additional resourcing of our Clinical Governance, Quality and Risk department, to drive consistent and cohesive data and reporting across facilities, and to equip sites with the resources and skills to manage unannounced audits.
  • Increased focus on ensuring our Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) metrics are continually assessed against the changing care needs of our residents and clients.
  • Engaging a Nurse Practitioner at three Brisbane facilities, under a six-month trial. This project sought to enhance clinical systems and support, through improving health outcomes for residents without the need to see a GP, while also upskilling our existing care staff, particularly Registered Nurses and Enrolled Endorsed Nurses. It is anticipated this model will be rolled out at all facilities nationally.
  • The successful implementation of a screening tool to identify residents at risk of swallowing difficulties and choking, and implementing mitigation plans, in collaboration with Speech Pathologists. It is anticipated this model will be rolled out at all facilities nationally.
  • Establishing a professional and consistent approach to providing Pastoral Care along with leisure and lifestyle programs across all facilities.
  • Continuation of the national water quality management program to prevent instances of Legionnaires Disease, exceeding industry requirements and standards.

Our focus on bedding down the growth of the previous year saw St Vincent’s Care Services achieve a number of key milestones in 2017-18, including:

  • The lowest rate of Lost Time Injury (LTI) incidences among staff for any aged care organisation in Australia and New Zealand.
  • A significantly reduced rate of reported resident falls, equivalent to around half the national average in aged care.
  • A reduction in infection rates among residents of around 30% from the previous year.
  • Providing our Community Living staff with additional education to expand the services delivered to clients in their own home. For example, providing home care employees with a certificate in Basic Foot and Nail Care so they can help clients maintain personal care between podiatry visits.

Finally, towards the end of 2017-18 St Vincent’s Care Services began winding down the ‘Eltham Project’, a two-year initiative in partnership with CatholicCare to provide medium-term accommodation for refugees from Syria and Iraq at SVCS Eltham.

Housing is a major challenge for recently arrived refugees and they’re particularly vulnerable in the competitive private rental market. St Vincent’s Care Services’ aim in establishing the Eltham Project was to help the refugees build up their community links and rental history, so they were better able to move into private rental.

Over its duration, the Eltham Project housed 61 refugees (54 adults, 7 children) from Syria and Iraq and helped the new arrivals successfully acclimatise to their new homeland.

At the time of writing, 47 of the Eltham Project’s residents had found long-term accommodation in the community. The remaining 14 – all aged over 55 – are staying on at SVCS Eltham as the accommodation transitions to providing social housing for seniors.

Australia’s aged care industry is in a state of flux and the industry needs to adapt in order to keep pace. The restructure of the national aged care quality standards and a shift in language from ‘care recipient’ to ‘consumer’ is an example of how the industry is progressing from a traditional model towards one of adaptable and customised services to meet the individual needs of residents and clients.

The Commonwealth’s eventual response to the recently announced Royal Commission into Aged Care is also likely to usher in sweeping reforms to the sector.

St Vincent’s Care Services will continue to enhance the lives of our residents and clients by maintaining our standards of exceptional care and by staying flexible and open to innovation.

Our plans for 2018-19 include transitioning one aged care facility in Melbourne, one in Sydney, and two in Brisbane under the St Vincent’s banner.

Aged Care Division

The Changing Face of Aged Care

The changing face of aged care means the traditional picture of a ‘nursing home’ is no longer applicable. Residents are rarely idle in our facilities – they organise their own events and play an active role in selecting activity programs, food menus and operational decisions.

The emphasis on providing individual choice and independence is key, and even residents with complex clinical needs, including cognitive or physical limitations, are still given the opportunity to have as much autonomy as possible.

An example of the active role residents play is the prevalence of fundraising activities across our aged care centres.

A number of facilities have turned their regular yarn craft activity sessions into charity drives. Groups such as the Nifty Knitters in Auburn, the Knit and Natter group at Maroochydore, and similar groups and individual residents at Mitchelton, Bardon and Enoggera have donated countless scarves, blankets, woolen clothing, toys, and other items to charity groups. What begins as an enjoyable pastime has become something greater.

In fact, some facilities have fundraising as a designated activity or hobby. SVCS Kangaroo Point has a group of residents who regularly meet to plan fundraising events and activities. A highlight of their year is the facility fete, which this year raised in excess of $3,000 for the Downs and West Community Support outreach organisation.

Elsewhere, art shows are regularly held at our sites in Bardon, Mitchelton and Auburn, and Kangaroo Point has been involved in a joint art project with a local primary school. Such projects are examples of the richness and vibrancy found in our aged care and retirement living communities, and the celebration of life they encourage.

Aged Care Division
Volunteers and residents at the SVCS Kangaroo Point annual fete