South Australian aged care provider Life Care has appointed Catherine Hughes as its new chief operating officer.

A senior healthcare executive, Ms Hughes (pictured above) currently works for SA Health as director of statewide demand management for the Department for Health and Wellbeing.

While there she has been leading the delivery of key departmental reforms to increase hospital capacity and patient flow, and supported system readiness of the community and hospital response to COVID-19.

Previous to that, as the executive lead COVID-19 Programs, Ms Hughes managed mass and mobile vaccination programs and drive-through testing centres for the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.

From 2013 to 2021, Ms Hughes held a range of other roles within SALHN including acting chief operating officer, Strategic Projects Unit lead and co-director of its Rehabilitation, Aged Care and Palliative Care department.

An accredited pharmacist, Ms Hughes holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Australia, is a graduate of the Australia Institute of Company Directors and holds a Graduate Certificate in Health Systems Management from Charles Sturt University.

Commencing her role as COO on 21 July 2022, Ms Hughes will work with Life Care chief executive officer Allen Candy to drive innovation across the not-for-profit provider’s aged care and in-home support services.

Allen Candy

Mr Candy said Ms Hughes’ extensive expertise will add a new dimension to the organisation. “The aged care sector is undergoing significant change whilst also managing the unique demands that COVID-19 places on staff and residents,” he said.

“Catherine understands that challenge, having had significant experience leading change in complex environments under immense public scrutiny and will play a key role in shaping the further elevation of Life Care’s strategy and service delivery.”

Ms Hughes’ appointment will also support Life Care’s capital works program for the next five years including pursuing a seniors living and residential care complex on a new site in Golden Grove, a north-eastern suburb of Adelaide. She will also oversee a potential redevelopment of Life Care’s Parkrose Village campus in Everard Park, in the inner south-west of the city.

Life Care’s Gaynes Park facility

In December last year, Life Care was nationally recognised with an Urban Development Institute of Australia Award for Excellence in Seniors Living for its $47 million Gaynes Park campus in Joshlin, a north-eastern suburb in Adelaide. Life Care have delivered a “community for older people with a forward-thinking expression of innovation and creativity,” the Judges said.

“Life Care is poised to further push the boundaries of what it means to get older and I’m looking forward to Catherine playing a key role in this new chapter,” Mr Candy said.

Main image: Catherine Hughes

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