From left: Ross Buscemi, director/CEO at New Hope Foundation, Petra Neeleman, CEO DutchCare, Ilias Tsinanis, deputy chairman, New Hope Foundation, and Ignatius Oostermeyer, chairman, DutchCare.
From left: Ross Buscemi, director/CEO at New Hope Foundation, Petra Neeleman, CEO DutchCare, Ilias Tsinanis, deputy chairman, New Hope Foundation, and Ignatius Oostermeyer, chairman, DutchCare.

New ethno-specific aged care services and community-based programs are among the expansion plans for the new organisation resulting from a merger between Victorian providers DutchCare and New Hope Foundation.

DutchCare, the well-known provider of residential and home aged care and retirement living services across the state, and New Hope Foundation, which provides services to migrants and refugees in Melbourne and surrounding areas, will merge effective 1 October.

Home care is the common service between the two providers and the merger follows on from a partnership formed three years ago to provide combined services.

The new entity, MiCare, will specialise in providing services to migrants from point of entry into Australia throughout their lifespan, while the two existing business names, DutchCare and New Hope Foundation, will remain, according to Penni Michael, business development manager with DutchCare and MiCare.

Penni Michael
Penni Michael

“It is important for us to keep DutchCare going because it is meaningful to our Dutch community just like New Hope Foundation is meaningful to refugees and migrants,” Ms Michael told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“Both have strong brand names and we don’t want to lose that. The idea is that if others are interested in merging with us that we will have one organisation but many entry points.”

The new entity will be headed up by DutchCare CEO Petra Neeleman as executive director and include a number of general managers.

Ms Michael said that in addition to clients with a Dutch background, DutchCare serviced a range of ethnic communities including Polish, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish while New Hope Foundation predominantly provided settlement services to new and emerging communities including people from the Horn of Africa and Sudan.

“The area that we are looking at expanding is residential services… Then we will be extending services in home care and then we are looking at innovation around community-based programs,” she said.

New residential aged care services under the MiCare name include an Indian-specific facility in Noble Park, which DutchCare already bought land and acquired bed licenses for, in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Associations Victoria (FIAV).

Broad service remit

In addition to aged care, MiCare will provide settlement, family, youth and community services as well as concentrate on independent older people who needed to be connected with their communities, Ms Michael said.

“The emphasis is always around common ground so whatever provides comfort for that community or that individual. Wherever possible we will provide services in the person’s own language.”

Ms Michael said that goal aimed to reach all involved in service provision in addition to personal care workers, such as physiotherapists, pharmacists, nursing staff, activities people and gardeners.

As such, the organisation concentrates on employing staff and looking for service contractors who can speak another language, she said.

“We understand that in a multi-cultural setting you have to use other tools but there is nothing more powerful than someone who speaks the language; who understands you. That is where choice can really be exercised.”

From a business perspective, the key benefit of the merger was with back of house functions primarily, said Ms Michael, who added the two organisations already used staff from either organisation in various programs as part of their partnership.

“We came together because of aged care then we realised there were synergies and ways of expanding the scope of the organisation so it does a variety of services. The idea is that when you come into the country and you become accustomed to going to an organisation that you maintain links with that organisation throughout your life needs and as they change,” Ms Michael said.

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