Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Mar-Apl 2015 Contents Lois Towart
Given the organisation's track record
in delivering services across home and
residential care and retirement living, as
well as its desire to "own and maintain the
customer relationship", RSL Care decided
to operate all the service elements itself,
rather than entering into a partnership
with other providers.
The organisation identified that, in
order to provide the services that clients
wanted at each of the communities,
it needed staffing cohorts that were
prepared to work across service lines,
rather than in one setting, says Greive.
"Normally there's a fair degree of
autonomous thinking in home care,
residential care and so on. We think
there's a great opportunity for some
people working in residential care to
be supported to work in the home care
environment. The future for us is having
integrated communities of staff who are
happy, trained and competent to work in
all operating environments of the services
we supply," says Greive.
From the legislative and funding
perspective, unpicking some of the
organisation's processes and systems was
a challenge, he says. "Some of those have
been built up for RSL Care over 75 years,
so you're not starting with a blank sheet
of paper. You have to align what has been
done historically with what customers are
looking for, and then build that service
into a specific integrated community."
Several of the company's senior
executives went on study tours to New
Zealand, Scandinavia and Europe to
observe integrated models there.
"We also did an enormous amount of
research across the UK and US to see what
they were doing. We really incorporated
those learnings into what we were seeing
as the future of our integrated community
environment," says Greive.
To bring about the integrated
communities, the provider's home care units
were moved from their community-based
locations into new bases on site with the
provider's residential aged care facilities.
"We had to talk to our customers and let
them know what we doing and why, what
service options it would open up for them,"
he says, adding that education sessions and
workshops were also run with staff.
Discussing the outcomes of the
integrated model, Greive cites the flexible
service options now available to consumers,
while staff are starting to see that integration
is leading to synergies across sites and
services, with greater sharing of resources
and ideas. "They have increased capacity to
supply the services they need," he says.
'FILLING THE GAP IN
"It's a real hot topic of conversation
amongst the retirement living and aged
care sectors at the moment," says Stephen
Bull of the push towards a "continuum of
care" between the sectors.
Bull, who is CEO of retirement living
for Stockland, says most operators
are really just starting to explore and
understand what it means in practice.
With the current reforms in aged care,
many aged care providers are moving
down the high care path, while retirement
living operators focus on independent
living -- leaving a "real gap in the middle,"
"I think that's the gap where you're
going to see a real focus in the next
couple of years, because there are some
residents who are not ready to go into
high care aged care, but they can't live
Bull says that residents move into
retirement villages for a whole range of
reasons including peace of mind, a sense
of community and a "lower maintenance
lifestyle." However, they also want the
peace of mind that comes from knowing
they won't necessarily have to move again.
"The concept that, as their care needs
progress they could stay within that same
community but receive a higher level of
care is really important to them," he says.
The desire to provide this continuum of
care was behind Stockland's partnership
with Opal Aged Care, which began in July
last year when Stockland sold four of its
aged care facilities in NSW and Victoria
to Opal, and agreed to future co-located
retirement living and aged care sites.
Stockland owned the residential facilities
as a result of the acquisitions it had made
since it entered retirement living in 2007.
The operator now has 8,400 independent
living units and 63 villages across Australia,
with over $1 billion invested.
"We saw ourselves as a big property
company, building these communities
and running them with our residents, but
we weren't experts in healthcare or aged
care. It made sense to us to partner with
someone who is," says Bull of how the
partnership with Opal came about. "Let's
Research sheds light on co-location trend
AN ANALYSIS IN 2012 by Lois Towart, a
property researcher and lecturer in the
School of the Built Environment at the
University of Technology Sydney, found that
630 retirement villages were co-located with
residential aged care facilities -- representing
32 per cent of all villages operating through
a deferred management fee (DMF) structure
under the Retirement Villages Act. Some 87
per cent of these co-located villages were
run by not-for-profit providers, she found.
For her analysis, Towart compiled
and collated information on 2,000 DMF
retirement villages and cross referenced this
with the list of residential aged care facilities
held by the Department of Health.
Her research identified that the proportion of
co-located villages varied across the states and
territories -- from 14 per cent in South Australia
to 44 per cent in Tasmania. Towart says she
suspects this variation may be partly due to the
fact that retirement villages are regulated at the
state level, and there are anomalies between
the various state legislations which give rise to
different types of developments.
"The one that immediately comes to
mind is South Australia, where villages
under the Act don't have to be on a single,
continuous site," Towart tells AAA.
Significantly, by matching her analysis
with 2011 Census data, Towart was able to
identify that residents living in co-located
retirement villages were older on average
than those living in traditional villages -- 81
years (co-located) compared to 77 years
(traditional village). Further, more residents
in co-located villages (19 per cent) reported
they required assistance with at least one
activity of daily living compared to those
living in traditional villages (16 per cent).
Towart says her findings "raise the
question of why" residents in co-located
villages are older on
average. "Are they entering
the village older, at a later
date, or are they staying in
the village for longer? The
answer is we don't know,"
she says. "It's one of those
findings where the data
tells you one thing, but
immediately poses further questions."
Towart's next research will focus on what
she describes as a tendency among some
large private and ASX-listed companies
away from diversification towards single
operations. "Many operators state that
integrating accommodation and care is
the way forward, however when you look at
operators they are either retirement living or
aged care. There appears to be something
which impedes integrating accommodation
and care," she says.
Services utilised by residents at Aveo Cleveland
range from domestic assistance and social
support to OT and nursing care.
36 | MARCH -- APRIL 2015 | AAA
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