New Mission Australia aged care facility
On Monday 20 November Mission Australia officially opened its newest aged care facility that provides aged care for people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage in the Orange and Cabonne Shire regions. Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP Minister for Aged Care and Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans attended at the ceremony.
Coinciding with Mission Australia’s celebration of 155 years since Benjamin Short founded the organisation, the namesake purpose-built facility began operating earlier in the year. The service model of Benjamin Short Grove is based on the award winning model of Mission Australia’s Charles Chambers Court aged care facility in Sydney’s Surry Hills.
Mission Australia’s CEO, Catherine Yeomans says Mission Australia’s recently released ‘Ageing and Homelessness’ report highlighted the growing demand for residential aged care facilities like Benjamin Short Grove that offer 24 hour care that is appropriate for older people in need.
“There simply aren’t enough aged care facilities like Benjamin Short Grove that specialise in caring for people with complex needs and who may have a history of homelessness or disadvantage. The intensive level of care that we provide at our specialised aged care facilities is vital for the people who live there who regularly face high levels of frailty and who have high needs.
“If the Commonwealth Government funded the construction of one new homeless aged care service every year in each state and territory, according to need, that would have a meaningful impact on addressing the current shortfall and provide homes for many more vulnerable people to age with dignity,” says Yeomans.
The $16.7 million Benjamin Short Grove facility is designed to accommodate up to 60 local vulnerable women and men, some who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, financially or socially disadvantaged, are in unstable accommodation or who lack the financial capacity and family support to access mainstream aged care facilities.
Mission Australia general manager of Aged Care Jill Bicknell, who is based in Orange and has worked with Mission Australia’s aged care services for 17 years, says the staff at Benjamin Short Grove provide high quality care that is tailored to the individual needs of each resident.
“Here at Benjamin Short Grove, we prioritise a person-centred approach and make sure every person who lives here receives the tailored support they need, with activities including care planning, help with hygiene and living activities, assistance with medication administration and access to allied health services,” says Bicknell.
The Benjamin Short Grove facility has been made possible by a grant of $14.7 million from the Federal Department of Health as well as donations from Mission Australia supporters who turned the facility into a reality by fundraising more than $1.5 million for the project over 18 months. Ongoing funding is provided through the Commonwealth aged care system.
“The support from the local community and beyond has been incredible. We’ve had a fundraising luncheon, a number of donations from local clubs and we’ve even had a group of talented quilters donate 82 colourful quilts for each of our residents,” says Bicknell.
Bicknell explained that those who have a history of chronic homelessness and disadvantage typically require more specialised support and integrated services than those residing in mainstream aged care services.
“Many older people or people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are sadly no longer in contact with family or their social networks. They also often age prematurely due to a poor lifestyle and face other problems like chronic health problems, malnutrition, chronic loneliness or a history of violence and trauma.
“We are very much grateful to the community for their ongoing support for the facility and we look forward to providing a range of leisure and lifestyle activities so residents have an opportunity to connect with the local community,” said Ms Bicknell.
The service is tailored to the needs of residents and includes:
- 60 single rooms with ensuites, divided across four ‘pods’ of 15 rooms, each with their own dining room and two lounge facilities
- 24-hour nursing assistance as well as a range of medical specialist services including podiatry, optical, physiotherapy and psychiatric support
- Tailored dietary and nutrition planning
- Two activity rooms for recreation and leisure activities, and
- Inviting barbecue and landscaped outdoor areas.
Mission Australia owns and operates three specialised aged care facilities: Charles Chambers Court in Surry Hills, Annie Green Court in Redfern and Benjamin Short Grove in Orange.