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CEO Update - Anna Howard

3 Mar 2022

Winter has arrived with gusto...

Greetings everyone,

Winter has arrived with gusto welcome rain that is breathing life into our gardens and the countryside. The crop farmers must be particularly pleased. I do love this time of the year when I drive to Murray Bridge from Stirling. I see the hills greening up and the gentle mist over the river as I arrive at the top of Adelaide Road, from the freeway exit.

Thankfully, we are seeing the COVID pandemic start to abate, yet it remains sad to see that some people are still losing their lives. The vaccines seem to be doing their job as evidenced by anyone in our team who has tested positive, not requiring to be hospitalised nor experiencing severe symptoms. COVID vaccination in the aged care sector remains compulsory and there is a steady uptake by staff having the annual flu vaccination, which is not compulsory. We remain committed to monitoring our clients and ourselves for any signs that we may be carrying the virus. We aim to keep our clients safe from the possibility of cross infection through those of us who enter their home.

I reported in my Autumn newsletter piece that we were due to be audited by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission on the 28th of February and 1st of March. As it turned out, it was rescheduled to the 12th and 13th of April due to staff shortages, caused by COVID. I am pleased to report that the process went smoothly, with the auditors and my team working collaboratively to gather and analyze the information necessary for the auditors to decide how we perform against the standards. Overall, we were pleased with the feedback that the auditors gave us, and we were most particularly pleased when they reported that of the clients they spoke with directly, all clients reported overwhelmingly that they are happy with our services. This is a wonderful endorsement of the superb work of our Support Workers, Nurses, and Service Consultants.

The team works tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the highest possible quality standard of services, delivered with all the respect they deserve. This was confirmed further by the auditors’ findings that we are fully compliant with Standard 1. This standard is in my view, is the most important standard, i.e., Consumer Dignity and Choice. The areas identified where they suggested we could improve our performance were in the way we conduct our assessments and set goals with clients, and to adjust our contract with external service providers to ensure that we stringently have oversight on their commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our clients. All suggestions for improvement have been added to our already substantial continuous quality improvement register! I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the participants of the Client Reference Group both in Adelaide and Murray Bridge, for the enormous contribution they make on behalf of all our clients, by adding their viewpoints to inform how we can continue to improve the way we operate. All being well, the next audit is due to occur in three years.

On the 24th of June, I will have been at the helm of this wonderful organisation for eight years. I am constantly reminded of the growth that we have experienced in those years and the challenges that come with growth. In 2014 we had 110 clients, 11 office staff and 60 contractors. Today we have over 400 clients, 30 office staff including Nurses, 90 Support Workers, and in 2019 we opened our 50-unit retirement living complex, Warner Close, where we have two amazing on site managers.

To accommodate the growth in Adelaide we are pleased that we have moved into new offices at 290 Glen Osmond Road, Fullarton. If you are in the vicinity and would like to see through the new premises, please pop in for a tea or coffee. Please note that the phone number will remain the same (8365 0151).

As the CEO, I am supported by an amazing team of employees and a terrific group of volunteer directors who I work with closely to ensure that our organisation is run effectively and remains financially successful and viable. On this note, I am pleased to report that we are meeting and exceeding all key business performance indicators which heeds well for our future. The external audit mechanisms that we operate under are reassuring me that we are doing well. However, the most important measure of our performance is the satisfaction of our clients. Each year we conduct a client satisfaction survey, and we will conduct one in the final quarter of this year. However, I encourage you all to pick up the phone and call me, or anyone in the team that you communicate with directly, if you have any concerns that need to be addressed. We can only fix a problem if we are made aware that there is one. I can reassure you that I am a strong believer on a no-blame approach to remedying a problem. Please do not feel that if you complain anyone will ‘get into trouble’, rather see it as an opportunity for us to get things right.

The thing that we value the most in our organisation is the family/country approach to providing services that we have installed over the almost 28 years that we have been operating. As we continue to grow in numbers and diversify our business, we wish to hold dear to us these values.

Stay safe and stay well

Anna Howard

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