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Feros Care believes
residents should have
control over their life.
Significant steps towards
Just because an older person has entered residential aged care
doesn’t mean they should lose all control over their life and their
That’s the underlying philosophy driving a series of recent
changes underway across Feros Care, a leading provider of
“We are all about creating a home environment and trying
to create more freedom of choice in everyday life,” says Peter
Walker, general manager of residential services at Feros.
“One of the challenges is trying to build that into a nursing home
environment when the focus can often be task orientated and built
around set times for things like meals and elements of care.”
Increasing choice will mean that aged care facilities need to
be more flexible in their approach to procurement and be more
diverse in their selection of products, he says.
Feros has been implementing a “hospitality model” in its
villages where the focus is on delivering services when clients
want them rather than determined by a care routine.
“Our residents come from an era when they cooked all their
own biscuits and cakes, and grew their own vegetables and
herbs. Every day we cook a fresh batch of cookies, scones
or cakes and use all fresh vegetables,” says Rick Stewart,
Feros has implemented “edible gardens” that residents
manage, giving them more variety in terms of social and
lifestyle activities, he says.
“We have staff with a can-do attitude where they feel it’s OK
to be adaptable and spontaneous, and provide services that
residents request, where we can,” Stewart says.
Feros Care’s positive living teams offer an extensive
selection of daily activities to suit all personalities and needs.
Walker says it’s not uncommon to see residents sleeping
in until 10am and then choosing to have their breakfast, or for
residents to make requests for things outside the regular menu.
“These are just small steps towards our long-term vision but
it feels great to be making headway with this,” he says.
Walker believes residents should be at the centre of
decision-making about their care “regardless of where the
money comes from or how much they can afford.”
“It can be as simple as when they want to get out of bed,
when to have their shower and what to eat,” he says.
Apart from entertainment, Sinclair says facilities
could move to expand offerings across a range
of areas including social activities, allied health,
beauty and grooming and lifestyle activities.
Given facilities provide many of these services
such as grooming and access to allied health –
under the scheduled services of Aged Care Funding
Instrument, they may “walk a fine line” in terms of
negotiating and charging residents for extra sessions
outside of those funded by government.
“My view has always been that CDC particularly
in residential aged care will come at a cost to the
consumer. Choice will come at a price,” says Sinclair.
Much like the experience in the home care sector
with the full roll out of consumer directed care and
individualised budgets, Sinclair says a fundamental
issue for residential facilities will be better
understanding the costs of delivering services.
“They need to know what their costs of ser vice
provision are. They need to then put a proper
price on it, and put a margin on it so they are
covering their costs and making a bit of money,
other wise they are wasting their time.”
He believes this source of income will become
increasingly significant for providers into the future.
“Particularly as the margins on government-
funded care is continuously squeezed. Facilities
are going to have to find some revenue streams
that are almost immune to changes in government
policies,” he says.
RCC program: next steps
For McCabe and her research team, it’s hoped a
larger study can further explore the potential of
the RCC training program.
They have applied for funding to implement
and evaluate the program in 39 aged care
facilities in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
They acknowledged the need to include a greater
number of residents and staff in a future study and
to measure changes over a longer period of time.
“Future study requires better costing
information to more competently assess the
program’s cost effectiveness,” she says. n
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