Living with Dignity, Dying in Comfort

Hi Folks,

Braemar Presbyterian Care is offering a free community event for local people of Perth, who are interested in learning more about palliative care.

The team have developed a Living with Dignity, Dying in Comfort information evening, which will take place on 22 May from 5:30PM at Braemar House, located at 10 Windsor Road, East Fremantle.

I spoke recently with our Professional Standards, Quality and Risk Specialist, Bernadette Samura, who has a lot of experience in this area – having previously managed Braemar House.

Bernadette was quick to point out that palliative care is far more than just end-of-life care, and that it is essential to challenge the myths and stigmas around palliative care. ‘We want people to openly discuss it as a normal part of their future planning,’ she told me. It is Braemar’s desire to ensure everyone involved in this quality of life process is very much part of the care and friendship philosophy that can add so much to quality of life.

The evening involves a keynote presentation from Bethesda Hospital’s Clinical Nurse Manager, Ed Gaudion, as well as exhibits showcasing various care approaches. It is a free event, and is open to members of the community, their families with loved ones in care facilities, those planning to relocate to residential aged care, as well as anyone keen to learn more about palliative care.

Hope to see you there,

Wayne.

Note: The Living with Dignity, Dying in Comfort information evening will take place on Wednesday 22 May at Braemar House in East Fremantle, from 5:30-7PM. Coffee and light refreshments will be provided. Anyone interested in attending this session can find out more details by contacting 08 6279 3654

Transparency Matters

Hi folks,

A former Australian of the Year recently said, “The standard you walk by is the standard you accept”. In aged care, we are entrusted to care for and support some of the most vulnerable in our community. It is my belief that in this industry, we must only accept the highest standard.

While I am proud of the quality of care we deliver at Braemar, I am a strong believer in creating an environment that encourages constant improvement. We want to be open and accountable in all we do.

To ensure that everyone associated with our organisation is able to have their voice heard; about any issues that cause them concern; we have introduced a new service called Your Call.

Your Call is an independent, third-party reporting service which allows residents, family members and staff to report any matters of concern in relation to the care and services we provide.

Sometimes, for various reasons, we might feel uncertain or uncomfortable about directly raising an issue or reporting something we have seen.

It is my hope that this new service will provide those living in care, as well as their families, friends and staff, with an environment in which to raise any concern – no matter how big or small.

Reports to Your Call can be made anonymously. Those lodging a report can do so by phone or online – 24 hours a day. All reports are forwarded directly to me for immediate consideration and action.

Contact details for Your Call have been distributed throughout Braemar’s facilities. This has been done via the installation of large posters; while printed information and updates are being made available.

This service is available to all our staff, residents and family members and friends. It is essential that as aged care providers we ensure we are transparent in all we do.

I want to ensure we hear from you if you have any concerns. I am excited to see Braemar lead by example in this area.

Nice chatting,

Wayne.

Elephant in the room?

So, what is the elephant in the room with aged care at the moment?

In a report released Friday 17 August 2018 that showed a recent increase in home care funding for elderly care recipients, there was a worrying trend in demand versus ability to provide that needed care.

That is, despite the growth in older people desiring home care services, the number of home care packages assigned (or available) is simply not keeping up with demand.

At 31 March 2018, according to figures only released on 17 August 2018, the queue waiting to receive a package had risen to 108,456 people.  That is an increase of 3,854 on those waiting at 31 December 2017.  Not only that , but just over half of all those in the queue have been assigned a package at a lower level than their needs require.  Remember this is all based on the Australian Government’s own approved needs assessment, and allocation of packages.

Contemporaneously we have demographers projecting the number of residential aged care places required to be built/developed is now at about 75,000 by 2025.  That is only eight years away.

Continue reading “Elephant in the room?”

Shaky Foundation: Where is residential care today? 

I have been tracking various residential aged care data and some interesting comparison figures for two decades now since the Aged Care Act came into being in 1997.Please allow me to say right upfront – collecting relevant and appropriate data from indices can be difficult and not always truly comparable.

The data represented below is purely to make us think, and perhaps identify for providers at least, why it seems to have become so much more difficult to maintain a high quality residential aged care service today to people with more pressing multiple morbidities than ever before.

Clearly, by comparison, our funding foundation has worsened over the past twenty or so years.

Residential Aged Care Comparators:

Some description of the various indices follows:

Continue reading “Shaky Foundation: Where is residential care today? “

Free Flu Shots at Braemar

Some time back during one of our regular Braemar senior leadership meetings in 2017, we decided to take the lead in protecting our residents from influenza by offering complementary flu vaccines not just for our staff and residents, but also volunteers and the families of those in our care.

This week, free vaccinations were available at Braemar Cooinda and Braemar Village, while next week we will be providing the vaccines to those at Braemar House.

Here’s the latest instalment from artist Jason Chatfiled which was used as the banner on the day.

This move predated the recently announced Government plan to mandate all aged care providers to provide free flu vaccines to their staff. It was a decision we took as we felt it was an effective way to help reduce the risk of influenza entering the aged care environment.

The idea to expand the service to families and volunteers was developed by the Braemar team under the direction of Renee Reid, General Manager of Workforce. When chatting to Renee, she expressed the team’s desire to ‘meet and exceed best practice levels to reduce the risk of our health and care professionals contracting flu or passing it onto our residents,’ which to me demonstrates a commitment to resident health and wellbeing across the organisation.

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Report and Recommendations – Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices

I have been working back in the aged care sector since August 2016, and as many of you know I have been the Chief Executive Officer of Braemar since March 2017.  A few weeks back I did seek comment from colleagues and visitors to my blog about these “end of life choice” matters.  Thank you to those who have pondered, commented, and otherwise contributed on these things.

Pain, suffering, and distress are existential.  The desire to end one’s own life is based on existential circumstances with perhaps the view that there is little hope for any future improvement in life’s outlook.  The majority Christian view still is that Christ offers hope for an end to all suffering, but that happens at the natural end of this life – not a life brought to early closure.  The endurance of pain and suffering can seem intolerable, and the grasp of hope seemingly so far away.  We must develop ways in which we can assist to bridge the perceived gap between the existential pain and future hope by how we manage our pain, symptoms, and suffering and sense of loss; yet contemporaneously offer support to others afflicted by such suffering, grief and loss.

Continue reading “Report and Recommendations – Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices”

Nothing Changes?

This piece was published as ‘The Bones are Bare’ on Australian Ageing Agenda

I have been back working in the aged care sector for almost twelve months now – first on an interim basis with Baptistcare here in Perth, and for the past four months or so as Chief Executive with Braemar Presbyterian Care in WA.

One of the most common questions on my return to the sector is about the amount of change there has been in “aged care” since I left the sector back at the end of 2010.

One could say that the change has been enormous, with refundable accommodation deposits now part of residential aged care, and significant changes having been made to funding around client centred care in the community aged care sector.

On the other hand, one could quite calmly suggest that no great change has happened. After all, since I first entered the aged care sector back in 1982, we have had at least some fifteen (perhaps closer to twenty) Australian Government Ministers with responsibility for aged care services over the past thirty years. In that same period, we have had at least three major changes to the funding regimes that providers live with daily.

Continue reading “Nothing Changes?”