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Communication and engagement key to continuous improvement, says provider


Encouraging residents and their families to provide feedback and having a consumer directed model of care are among the integrated approaches one provider is implementing to meet the new standards.

Providers need to think about restructuring and realigning their organisations to better deliver high quality services and find potential gaps, said Danielle Mackenzie, chief executive officer of Queensland-based residential and home aged care and retirement living provider Sundale.

“Providers need to make sure that they are well placed in everything that they do supporting residents and clients in home care,” Ms MacKenzie told Australian Ageing Agenda ahead of her appearance at an upcoming industry conference next month.

Ms MacKenzie will be speaking at the Quality in Aged Care conference next month about how providers can prepare their organisations for the new Aged Care Quality Standards.

Danielle MacKenzie

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which commenced on 1 January 2019 will begin assessing providers against the new single Aged Care Quality Standards from 1 July 2019.

Providers need to look at how they can be flexible to provide care to suit resident’s needs, said Ms MacKenzie, who took over the leadership from long-serving CEO Glenn Bunney in October 2018 after joining the organisation as chief financial officer eight months earlier.

One of the ways Sundale is addressing residents’ needs is by designing stakeholder engagement sessions with PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia to gain insight into feedback from residents, their families and staff, she said.

“It is important we draw out the knowledge and experience of staff, our residents, our clients and their relatives, so they’ll be invited to attend engagement sessions to share their insights into Sundale’s strengths and opportunities for improvement,” Ms MacKenzie said.

The stakeholder engagement sessions will involve a sit-down interview and will become an ongoing tool for assessing feedback, Ms MacKenzie said.

She said feedback is a key integral component in ensuring providers have continuous quality improvement.

Sundale is also looking at ways of becoming more flexible so it can more effectively deliver consumer directed care for residents, Ms MacKenzie said.

“We’ve removed medication and administration management from carers so they are available for the residents and they can provide more individiualised support,” she said.

“I’m also looking at making sure we have the lifestyle component through the availability of lifestyle coordinators for our residents and that it is supported from an executive level,” Ms MacKenzie said.

Ms MacKenzie said providers need to look at restructuring their organisation without over-complicating things.

“It’s about collaboration and engagement with the stakeholders in the organisaiton.

“It can be really time consuming, but I don’t think we can implement these quality standards the way they need to be implemented unless we have good collaboration and communication,” Ms MacKenzie said.

She said a key part of the process is getting feedback from individual residents and their families on their needs and recognising that their needs are all unique.

“My advice to other providers is to look outside the square a little bit, be innovative and make sure that stakeholders are at the core of the organisation and it is driven through that care model,” she said.

The Quality in Aged Care Conference will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Sydney on 5-6 March 2019.

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2 Responses to Communication and engagement key to continuous improvement, says provider

  1. Amanda Terranova February 20, 2019 at 3:59 pm #

    Thanks for sharing Danielle – as a marketing & communication specialist – all of your points resonate with me specifically on how do include our clients, families, vendors and suppliers in the design process of future delivery models of care.

  2. Liz Mackay February 25, 2019 at 10:13 am #

    Thankyou Daniele ,well said and explained .Just wondering do we have core values in place eg Communication ,Openness , Respect , Empowerment ( though education and learning )

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