Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Surprise visit a win for Longridge

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Chris Oldfield, Naracoorte Community News

Following an unannounced site visit by the national Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission assessors, Naracoorte’s community owned and managed aged care home Longridge has been awarded the maximum accreditation period of three years.

The impromptu visit by the assessors meant that none of the management, staff or residents knew when Longridge was being assessed until “about two minutes” before auditors walked in the door.

“And that was only because they needed to check that there were no Covid-19 positive cases on site,” Longridge CEO Mary-Ann Koerner said.

The three assessors arrived on August 23 and remained on site for three days.

Everything from food quality and taste to cleanliness and the length of time people were left on a toilet were analysed, along with the safety, health and general wellbeing of residents, as well as administration and governance.

Even reports and feedback forms, good and bad, were investigated regarding how Longridge staff responded and acted on comments, be they good or bad.

The evaluation was rigorous for three full days. It was followed up by random and intensive questioning and investigation until the maximum accreditation was announced by email last month – that Longridge was accredited for the next three years.

Ms Koerner praised all 80 staff members – the carers, nurses, doctors, ancillary staff, administration staff, allied health personnel and the management group and Board of Directors.

“Longridge has a great team – a wonderful team of people, who are passionate about working with people who are aged and we are always striving to do our best,” she said.

Ms Koerner said it had been “so hard with Covid” and described the staffing problems it caused as well as upset and confusion for some residents.

She also praised the Longridge residents, families, friends and volunteers “because without our residents, none of us would be here”.

Longridge has two facilities – a hostel with licenses for 52 beds or rooms, and 50 Independent Living units (ILU’s).

“More recently, the ILU’s have been rebranded as rentals whereas previously some were Right to Occupy (RTO) and others purely rentals,” Ms Koerner said.

“Now all of the units as they become available, are straight out rental. This means that there is no down payment.”

“The 50 units enable people to live independently and if they choose, enjoy some of the services provided by the hostel. This may include meals; lunch is $12, and attending some of the great entertainment and outings we enjoy.

“There are only a few vacant units at the moment, however, they become available frequently with both 1 bedroom and 2 bedrooms.”

Meanwhile, the home provides permanent accommodation for those people who need some support for daily living.

“All rooms have their own private ensuite and range in price and size. We currently have three available rooms and we also offer respite for another two rooms,” Ms Koerner said.

Community owned Longridge Aged Care was established 53 years ago by our district’s visionaries, volunteers and civic leaders. It officially opened in 1969 with a long-term aim to provide accommodation and services for retired, aged or disabled people “irrespective of financial circumstances, race, colour or creed”.

“That premise remains to this day,” Ms Koerner said.

While Longridge provides the beds in the hostel, residents are encouraged to furnish their own rooms “so they feel at home”.

“In addition to 24 hour care, we offer very high standard palliative care, and access to various allied health specialists – including GPs and podiatrists, physiotherapists, dietician and speech therapist and our own pharmacist who is on site two days per week,” she said.

All meals are provided under the guidance of resident services manager Deidre Williams, who Ms Koerner describes as “an amazing person and a wonderful cook”.

The current board of governance includes chairperson Bill Vine, vice-chairman David Steadman and board members: Wanda Banning, Colin Crossling, Craig Hole, Beaver Johnson and Ron Wallingford.

Ms Koerner has been with Longridge “for about three years”, after working in various management positions around the state.

Also about three years ago the new national guidelines for aged care were introduced. They had followed the 2018 Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and formation of the Australian Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

Soon after Ms Koerner took up the CEO position, she successfully applied for a government grant to further staff training at Longridge, with an emphasis on quality and safety standards.

Ms Koerner believed it was important for both the management team and staff to all have first-hand knowledge about the latest theories and methods relating to the care of older people.

“Covid made it very difficult for us, but we have been working very hard to comply with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Standards since they came into effect in 2020,” Ms Koerner said.

“The standards reflect the level of care and services the community expects from aged care providers (and) clearly define what good aged care looks like. This in turn makes it easier to check that people receive good care.”

Ms Koerner said good care was not about ticking boxes.

“It’s about us as a residential aged care service provider caring for the people who call Longridge home, (and) caring for their individual needs,” she said.

Ms Koerner highlighted the importance of complying with the commission’s aged care standards which included 44 actions.

The standards and Longridge focus include:-

  • Standard 1 – Consumer Dignity and Choice. The people who call Longridge Home make their own decisions and in doing so are treated with dignity and respect.
  • Standard 2 – Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers – Residents are partners in their ongoing service provision. They are the experts in their care.
  • Standard 3 – Personal Care and Clinical Care – Residents can expect to get clinical services that are safe and right for them.
  • Standard 4 – Services and support for daily living – This standard is about enabling people to do what they want to do – not what we want them to do!
  • Standard 5 – Organisations service environment – The organisation provides a safe and comfortable environment that promotes independence, function and enjoyment. Residents say that they feel they belong.
  • Standard 6 – Feedback and Complaints – This means that the people who call Longridge home feel safe and are encouraged and supported to give feedback and make complaints. All those who work here view all feedback as good feedback and we understand that it helps us improve our service.
  • Standard 7 – Human Resources – This means that when we recruit people to work here at our home, we recruit the right people with the right qualifications, experience and a passion to work with people who are aged.
  • Standard 8 – Organisational Governance – Longridge Governing body is accountable for the delivery of safe and quality care and service.

Ms Koerner said those standards were at the forefront of everyone’s mind and guided the day-to-day operations within Longridge.

“It is just so hard to be accredited, and I am very grateful to everyone involved with Longridge,” she said.

“As we move into the new accreditation period, we continue to commit to the ongoing delivery of quality aged care services”.

“This means that daily we review our services whilst making improvements.”

Ms Koemer said if people were interested in helping in any way, ”we are always looking for people to help and volunteer, along with bequests, “.

“The Board of Governance (BoG) and senior management are working to develop an Action Plan for Capital Works and building maintenance,” she said.

“The BoG is keen to maintain the hostel and the ILU’s in a safe manner and comfortable home like environment.

“The Action Plan will include the steps and timelines for this to occur commencing in the new year – 2023.”

Naracoorte Community News 30 November 2022

This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.

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