Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Spt-Oct 2014 Contents sessions -- for example, fire and emergency,
manual handling - is expensive," he adds.
Emmerton Park is located at Smithton
in Circular Head, a rural and remote
municipality in far north-west Tasmania.
Smithton is the major population centre,
home to 3,000 people.
A community-based, not-for-profit
organisation, Emmerton Park provides a
range of services including 61 residential
care beds, 73 independent living units, 16
home care licences and day respite care.
"We employ 96 local people and generate
over $5 million into the local economy
through wages and employing local
contractors and suppliers," says Barden.
The 20 per cent increase to the
viability supplement is welcome, he says.
He describes the supplement as "vital",
because it compensates the organisation for
the additional costs incurred in providing
care and services where it operates.
"For example, it has allowed us to
expand home care to outlying areas of the
As a result of the boost to the
supplement, Barden says his organisation
expects the increase to provide
approximately $11,900 in additional
supplement income to a total of $69,800.
"We have regularly maintained
occupancy rates of greater than 99 per
cent, however with the increasing frailty
of new resident admissions we expect this
to reduce to 98 per cent this year.
"We don't expect any obvious impact
to our bottom line, which has also been
adversely impacted by the cessation of
the dementia supplement that will more
than offset any benefit resulting from the
increase in the viability supplement."
Discussing what impact the increase
may have on the care provided, Barden
says: "We have established specific
palliative and dementia teams this year to
provide specialised support to residents/
clients and resourcing these programs is a
strategic priority for our organisation.
"These quality initiatives have
necessitated considerable planning,
implementation, staff development and
community awareness processes which
has been predominantly subsidised, to
date, by community fundraising. The
increased subsidy will predominantly
be used to fund the coordination and
development of these programs."
Barden says that with the cessation of
the dementia supplement, he would like to
see additional funding for caring for people
with dementia and other behaviours.
"Many rural and remote providers
have difficulty in accessing allied health
professionals which can impact on pain
management strategies and related ACFI
scoring/claims. We have a number of
staff undertaking allied health assistant
training and would like to see changes to
ACFI scores to allow pain management
-- for example, massage - provided by
appropriately trained allied health assistants.
Currently it is restricted to registered nurses
or physiotherapists," he says. n
THEY MAY BE working in a remote
location, but that doesn't mean staff at
Emmerton Park aren't accessing the
latest thinking in aged care practice
In fact, of the 91 staff working
at Emmerton Park in far north-west
Tasmania, 42 are undertaking or have
completed studies at certificate III and IV
level (in areas such as aged care, allied
health, mental health, palliative care and
commercial cookery) and at diploma level
(in areas such as management, nursing
and care coordination).
Of the 14 volunteers who assist at
Emmerton, five are undertaking further
qualifications, while 14 non-nursing staff
are currently fulfilling mentoring and
leadership roles within the organisation.
This "culture of learning" may go some
way to explaining why the provider has
enjoyed a staff retention rate of 94 per cent
over the past 12 months.
"Emmerton Park recognised the need
to develop our own staff to ensure we have
a sustainable workforce into the future,"
says CEO Robert Barden.
"Our remote location, far from being
a barrier to success, drives innovative
thinking that results in the recognition
awarded to Emmerton Park over the past
years," he says. This recognition includes
the ACSA National Organisation Award
2013, the ACST Tasmanian Organisation
Award in 2011 and 2012, and a Better
Practice award in 2012.
"We promote a culture of learning and
recognise that development of our staff
and volunteers is integral to our succession
planning, people retention, developing
leaders and mentors, and establishing
career pathways," says Barden.
Like many providers, Emmerton
Park has an ageing clinical workforce.
In response, the organisation in 2009
established a scholarship to assist carers
and enrolled nurses to advance their
"The program is available to our
employees whereby we financially
assist the employee to undertake their
Bachelor of Nursing or Diploma of Nursing
conditional upon continued employment
with Emmerton Park following graduation.
Since implementing the program, three
employees have successfully completed
their Bachelor of Nursing qualification
and four have completed their Diploma of
Nursing giving us a self-sufficient clinical
workforce," says Barden. n
Emerton Park's initiatives have been
recognised with numerous industry awards
Robert Barden and
director of care Chris Hyde
58 | SEPTEMBER -- OCTOBER 2014 | AAA
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