In 1970 a group of socially motivated Catholic laymen known as the Knights of the Southern Cross looked for opportunities to improve the lives of older people. They identified appropriate housing and quality care as important necessities required by all people, particularly the aged.
So began our first village, Patrick Minehan located in the Western Sydney suburb of Marrickville. It was shortly followed by our first Residential Aged Care home at John Woodward Apartments in Merrylands.
Fast forward today and we have grown to 31 Residential Aged Care homes and 29 Retirement Community villages; we also provide care services to many hundreds of people in their homes throughout NSW.
We remain as focused today as we did in the beginning on providing caring, safe environments for people to grow old in, confident in the knowledge they will be supported by a dedicated team committed to helping every customer “live life to the full.”
Message from John Devlin
We have been in the new office at Epping just over twelve months now since our move in September 2016, the positive comments by the staff regarding the fit-out and facility is very satisfying to hear. Epping will suit us well for many years to come.
2017 presented many challenges for SCC, all of which were dealt with in a very efficient caring manner, by the executive team and senior staff, we are blessed to have truly professional people in the organisation.
The challenges Southern Cross Care faces get bigger and do not ever disappear, as often stated by Paul McMahon, “…he has never seen a more difficult time than 2017 in the aged care sector.” As well as noted in my report last year; reduced government funding, increasing staff numbers, new building projects and facility upgrades continue to put stress our bottom line. However, we are fortunate because the measures and changes instigated by Paul together with the high quality senior staff within the organisation; I am confident that Southern Cross Care will steer a steady course through 2018.
This year I am standing down as Chairman after 9 years and welcome Anne Lane as the incoming Chair. Anne will bring her own positive individual style to the position, and SCC will be in good hands with Anne at the helm.
I would like to take this opportunity especially thank our CEO, Paul McMahon for his wise counsel and absolute open, transparent and encouraging approach to every aspect of his role as CEO. Our working relationship has transformed into a close warm friendship which I will always cherish.
I would like to thank the Board for their support over the years, in the interest of brevity I will simply say that it has been a pleasure being Chair and I look forward to continuing to contribute to Southern Cross Care in 2018.
Paul as always please covey the Board’s sincere thanks to the Executive team and all the staff and volunteers for their hard work during the year caring for our wonderful residents – our Staff are our core.
May 2018 be a great year for Southern Cross Care; allowing all our residents to achieve our vision of “Living life to the full”.
Message from Paul McMahon
This year has, without doubt, been a challenging one. Government funding is tight, Home Care has been deregulated and there is more competition, which is great for customers of aged care services. Quite appropriately, there are increased expectations from the community about the quality of care and the well-being and safety of those we care for across the aged care industry.
As I travel across the state visiting our services, be they Residential Care, Home Care and Retirement Living, I am impressed and proud of the commitment to care provided by our staff and volunteers. At our staff induction sessions, I say to our staff that we, as aged care workers, are privileged to care for the older members of our society who have over many years done the ‘hard yards’ and who now deserve the best possible care and support.
The aged care industry is changing with smaller stand-alone services facing enormous challenges to survive. As a result, we will over time see fewer, but larger, aged care organisations. This trend is common among many industries, so aged care is not immune from such trends.
Our care delivery model has to be supported by a sustainable, strong organisation. We have to be business-like and prudent in managing the resources we have available to ensure that on a long-term basis, we balance the delivery of care with financial sustainability.
What really heartens me, is that despite all the challenges we face, the staff and volunteers at Southern Cross Care (NSW & ACT) demonstrate passion and love for the people in our care. During the year, we undertook a staff satisfaction survey and what was a standout for me was the overwhelming commitment of our staff and volunteers to the Vision, Mission and Values of our organisation.
The pathway through Australia’s aged care system can often be a difficult one. We have reorganised our management structure to enable the integration of our three care streams – Residential Care, Home Care and Retirement Living – to allow a more seamless path for our customers as their needs change.
A new website was launched in January showcasing our homes and communities, employees, and services in a way that better reflects our passion and enthusiasm for helping people live life to the full. It’s now easier for customers to learn about who we are and added functionality including a service finder tool and an online magazine helps customers readily locate information best suited to them. Since the launch, we have seen an unprecedented boost in website traffic and call-centre activity.
I’d like to congratulate SCC teams for again minimising waste and reducing landfill as part of our commitment to environmental sustainability. In Parkes, we partnered with charitable agency Para Marcia to repurpose building materials from our old Residential Aged Care home to aid communities in East Timor. A massive operation is rolling out to remove tonnes of roofing that will be used to build a new hospital. Later in the year, we are shipping old furniture including beds and chairs to East Timor.
We launched an employee reward and recognition program this year called STAR’s. I am heartened to see so many employees acknowledging one another by nominating their peers and managers. I also review feedback and recommendations from customers and their families. I know we are doing an incredible job when I read of so many employees who go above and beyond their everyday roles to make a difference to the lives of people we care for.
Of course, not all goes well, and on these occasions we need to be open and transparent, accept the consequences and learn from the experience while always ensuring the resident and client remains the focus of our attention.
You will see from this report, there are many initiatives underway across Southern Cross Care, including a number of major capital works and refurbishments.
I wish to extend my thanks to all of our staff, volunteers, Chairman of the Board John Devlin and fellow Board Members for their commitment and support for the work that we undertake. My thanks as well to the support we receive from residents, clients and family members who form a partnership with us to enable all to live life to the full.
At Southern Cross Care we believe that our purpose is to empower people to ‘live life to the full’.
We believe that each person has individual worth, the right to be treated with dignity and the right to exercise autonomy.
We celebrate and respect diversity and welcome people for who they are, regardless of faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and lifestyle choices.
We promote recognition of the whole person and support their physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual wellbeing to facilitate lives of dignity and purpose according to individual aspirations and needs. At the heart of our identity are our values of honesty, empathy, acceptance, respect and teamwork.
We place people at the heart of everything we do. Our employees are as caring as they are dedicated, experienced and highly trained. Together we deliver warm, expert and personalised services catering to each individual’s needs.
We offer a full spectrum of services for older people from Retirement Living through to Home Care and Residential Care. We adapt our services to meet the needs of each person and their family. Every day we work at earning the trust of the people we care for. We aim to be their supportive, long-term partner now and into the future.
Today, our commitment to quality care is second to none.
Tomorrow we will do more.
We are an all-inclusive, welcoming and accepting organisation with a longstanding Catholic tradition of caring for others. Our guiding principles direct our decisions and support our desire to enable those in our care to live full and dignified lives.
Caring for People
We acknowledge the individuality of every person and care for the whole person. We promote living life with respect, dignity, and purpose, according to your individual aspirations and needs. We believe that people who are disadvantaged, vulnerable or isolated merit special consideration.
How we do this:
We care for your physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual wellbeing. We build personal relationships and warm homelike environments that encourage people to enjoy their lives on their own terms.
We build communities and homes in rural locations specifically to provide care and support in areas where aged care services are limited or non-existent. Our presence also creates employment opportunities and contributes to the social fabric of towns and communities.
We seek to help those with chronic and debilitating health and social issues including dementia and Alzheimer’s. We fund research and implement programs and activities designed to help everyone lead fulfilling lives.
We believe every person deserves to be treated with dignity regardless of their ethnicity, creed, gender, sexuality, age or ability.
How we do this:
We celebrate the rich diversity of our residents, customers and employees. We honour all traditions, beliefs, events and special occasions that are unique and special to them.
We believe that people have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
How we do this:
In our communities, we encourage and support decision making by individuals, groups, families and employees – giving everyone the opportunity to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
We believe that we are responsible for looking after the world we live in, and for sharing and sustaining the resources, the earth gives us so future generations will enjoy the same benefits.
How we do this:
We monitor our environmental impact by improving the way we build, operate, maintain and improve our buildings, communities and operations.
We are a Silver Partner under the Sustainability Advantage program coordinated by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. In 2016 we were awarded the Age and Community Services Gareth Williamson Sustainability Award for our achievements.
Numbers at a Glance 2016-2017
RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE HOMES
RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE PLACES
RETIREMENT LIVING UNITS
COMMONWEALTH HOME SUPPORT
HOME CARE PACKAGES
Message from Helen Emmerson
Head of Care Services
This year I was appointed to fill a newly created position titled Head of Care Services, designed to drive integration across our three care streams of Home Care, Retirement Living and Residential Aged Care. This position builds on our existing quality care services and will facilitate the delivery of both a consistent and seamless experience for our customers and their families as they traverse a variety of changing care needs.
We are now structured to draw together our strengths and expertise using a centralised model, meaning we can both improve and introduce new services; improve collaboration and knowledge sharing; minimise bureaucracy and duplication, and importantly offer employees expanded career choices and flexibility. This is a long-term transformation that commenced last year with an initial review of each care service and business unit to identify and configure operational levers necessary to draw together the care service streams.
In my role as Head of Care Services, the care teams strive to provide exceptional service and I’m very proud of our efforts and our reputation in all areas. I’d like to thank our Home Care, Residential Aged Care and Retirement Living and Support Service employees for their dedication throughout the year. Without you, we are nothing.
Residential Aged Care
Our reputation for delivering trusted, professional care to those no longer able to live independently in their own home – coupled with our near 50 years’ experience mean SCC will always have an important role to fill in delivering Residential Aged Care.
In 2016-2017, across our 31 homes, we enhanced our services and care by focusing on resident’s health, safety, and happiness. We continued to invest in moving away from a clinical, task-orientated model to one that embraces increased flexibility and holistic well-being. In our homes each person is treated as an individual, with their personal story leading the way when tailoring care to best support them.
Before coming to live with us, we work with each resident and their family to complete a personal journal titled ‘All About Me’. This collaborative effort helps with getting to know each person and informing how consumer-directed care is best tailored to their needs. We have many examples of how this plays out for residents through life-affirming initiatives such as the Bucket List programs and other initiatives that enable residents to live life to the full.
As a wider range of care services evolve to help older Australians to live independently at home, we are seeing the age of those entering Residential Aged Care homes rising. This older population is increasingly frail with many suffering multiple complex health conditions including Alzheimer’s and dementia.
We are designing our next generation of residential homes and services with the latest technology and design considerations needed to provide optimum care and support. Importantly, we are equipping our teams with the skills and expertise needed to care for this growing higher-level care population. This has included updating our rostering to allow greater flexibility and coverage, and enabling us to implement initiatives such as flexible mealtimes for residents.
Attracting, developing and supporting our most important resource – our employees, was another high priority this financial year. Employees participated in a range of educational programs designed to equip them with the skills necessary to meet the complex care needs of residents. We trained residential care employees in the PANACEA Pain Management Program, and are already seeing the results in wellbeing and quality of life outcomes for many of our residents.
Learning, development, and collaboration were given a boost with the roll-out of designated computer kiosks installed at every Residential Aged Care home. Now all employees have improved access to employee resources including; primary care systems, training materials, and the employee intranet.
Behind the scenes, we spent much of this year preparing for a major upgrade to the primary care software to support the delivery of high-quality Residential Aged Care. This will support improved care delivery, record keeping and compliance.
This year we forged a unique partnership with The Groundswell Project and the University of Western Sydney in an initiative aimed at building stronger networks between our Residential Aged Care homes and local communities. Compassionate communities build on individualised, person centred care by encouraging service providers and communities to work together to care for each other over the whole of the life course, developing a community’s capacity to care in the process.
Titled the 10K Project this unique wellbeing program will bring to life the community networks of two Southern Cross Care homes over 3 years enabling us to powerfully shape the way future services are conceptualised and delivered.
We commenced co-designing the 10K pilot program in the first half of 2017 selecting our Greystanes Residential Aged Care Home as the first site. Researchers are working hand-in-hand with a community engagement specialist funded by SCC to design the community integration program. Led by the needs and desires of the residents – we will engage with all of the resources and networks within a 10-kilometre radius of the Greystanes home, including schools, community centres, faith-based organisations, TAFEs, Universities, shopping centres, artists, businesses big and small, garden centres, voluntary organisations etc. We anticipate this innovative program will transform how aged care homes interact with their communities and look forward to reporting on the program’s success in our next annual update.
Quality always remains an important focus for us and this year we enhanced our team with the introduction of new quality roles within the regions to strengthen compliance and process. Our Quality team made progress on refining previously separate quality systems into a single Quality Management System in line with our business integration plan, due to roll-out in the coming financial year.
This year the accreditation schedule for our homes was considerably lighter with just three, located in Lavington, Marsfield, and Garran completing accreditation during the year. Each was successful and we thank the teams involved for their commitment. Regardless of audit schedules, we are always paying attention to how we can improve and offer best quality care to our residents every day.
Highlights this year included a first-time conference drawing together Lifestyle Activity Co-ordinators to springboard programs designed to support person-centered care. As a result, many exciting new programs are in the design phase and due to launch in the coming year.
A List Worth Living For
Residential Aged Care Property Highlights
- The past year saw the completion of the major renovation to Daceyville Residential Aged Care home, and in the Central West of NSW, the major redevelopment of a new and expanded Parkes Residential Aged Care home, increasing from 41 to 62 aged care beds.
- A significant modernisation of our Marsfield Residential Aged Care home, which will offer 20 additional aged care beds which will be ready to occupy in early 2018.
- After several years of intense negotiations with NSW Rural Fire Service and the Ku-ring-gai Council, the NSW Land & Environment Court granted formal development approval for our new 113 bed, state-of-the-art aged care home at North Turramurra. Detail design documentation is complete, and the first round of works will commence in late 2017. The overall project due for completion in late 2019.
- Planning for a longer-term redevelopments at Grafton progressed. If approved, this will expand capacity to potentially 84 beds in Grafton.
- Work continued on our newest development – Thornton Park at Penrith. When completed at the end of 2018 the fully integrated village will offer 100 private Residential Aged Care suites, 48 luxury retirement units with in-home services, a men’s shed, café, hair and beauty salon, library and rooftop garden lounges.
Retirement Living Communities
Aged care providers are experiencing a much older demographic moving into retirement communities. At SCC we encourage independence and are taking steps to address the growing care needs of older retirees who want to live independently. As people age at home, they increasingly need social and well-being support services to maintain personal autonomy. SCC is providing greater opportunities to access a wide range of in-home services via our Home Care offering. Both subsidised, and user-pays services delivered into our Retirement Communities is a growth area, and we are collaborating more closely with our care colleagues across SCC to ensure our offering is comprehensive, cost-effective and ultimately the preferred choice for anyone choosing to live with us.
We introduced the new role of Operations Manager Retirement Living, appointing Chantele Nelson to the position. Under her leadership we focussed on the design and development of integrated services into our next wave of Retirement Community developments currently under construction. These developments epitomise customer-centred care in that they are modelled on a streamlined mix of services tailored to meet each resident’s unique needs. A good example is our new development under construction in Parkes, where an on-site Home Care office will provide retirees’ with access to expert assistance to navigate and apply for a Government subsidised Home Care package. Alternatively, a fee for service option will also be available. Programs and activities conducted within the new Residential Aged Care home, including café, hair salon and a host of lifestyle program and activities will also be available to Parkes Retirement Community customers as well as to our Home Care customers living in the wider community.
In Thornton Park, Penrith, we commenced community engagement research aimed at building links and sponsorship opportunities with local groups including Thornton Life Community Centre. When our new $75 million village launches in early 2019, we will have a range of community programs up and running to support the well-being of those living in our new village. Likewise, the programs and services will be a drawcard for people living in the broader community too, who will be able to tap into the SCC programs by visiting our village.
We designed an important new role to support our residents based on a series of state-wide feedback sessions held last year. Residents identified the desire for a concierge-like service to assist with day-to-day operational queries and facilitate social engagement. Village Liaison Officers will be appointed across our network of communities and will work in close co-operation with local Home Care and Pastoral and Spiritual Care teams to provide a holistic approach to residents’ well-being. Together they will connect residents to programs, services, and events in their wider community. We are currently trialling the program at Cardinal Gilroy Village in Merrylands and have already seen the early benefits including uptake of Home Care services, through to improved maintenance co-ordination and all round better communication. Feedback has also resulted in a streamlined admissions process that now includes a tailored induction into the Retirement Community including a program of introductions to key employees and residents.
A number of our Communities also hosted information sessions featuring speakers from local Aged Care Assessment Teams and our Home Care teams. The sessions will roll out across all our villages with the aim of educating residents about funded and non-funded service options and providing assistance to apply.
All SCC Retirement Community clients have access to the INS (emergency call system) providing peace-of-mind in the event of a fall or medical episode. This year we delved into system analytics to identify residents recording any significant changes in care needs. The early warning system allows us to pre-empt escalating care needs and develop proactive plans with our Home Care colleagues. By mitigating risks, we can support residents to remain independent in their homes for longer.
Residents’ needs are at the forefront of our thinking and feedback from care streams ensures we take a unified approach to new property development and refurbishments. This year we continued to review SCC’s existing property portfolio, identifying successful initiatives to standardise across our portfolio. Including a comprehensive resident feedback loop, ensures our Property Team and service streams apply continuous improvement practices to new renovations and building development.
In late 2016, our Property Department took oversight of the all-important maintenance function across our Residential Aged Care homes and Retirement Communities. A new senior role was introduced to oversee maintenance and improve capacity, cost-efficiency, and performance. For most of 2017 we progressively rolled out new processes for the management of preventative and compliance maintenance programs and are measuring good results.
Integrating into the broader community has seen some valuable partnerships forged to encourage social support and well-being. We’d particularly like to acknowledge the wonderful contribution of Bunnings who have been a long-standing supporter of SCC. This year they again generously provided gardening equipment, plants and conducted education and activity sessions for many of our residents.
Many of our Retirement Communities offered a range of well-being and health programs including Falls Prevention, and we continue to support initiatives that encourage residents to maintain their strength and independence.
During the 2016-2017 financial year, we recorded positive occupancy results selling a total of 81 units. Demand continues to be strong in many of our locations driven by our reputation and value.
Supported By A Caring Community
Retirement Community Property Highlights
- Construction of Thornton Park development in Penrith, featuring a 100 Residential Aged Care home and a 48 unit Retirement Community, with central community spaces and venues is well advanced, due for build completion in early 2019.
- The final build of Retirement Community units in Parkes will be completed later this year bringing the total to 85 units.
- Planning on our substantial new site in Campbelltown progressed, with the completion of a major restoration to the historic St John’s Church that sits on the land. Working with heritage specialists, the Church has been returned to its former glory, making it a beautiful asset to the new village. When approved, the Campbelltown site offering will include a 100-bed Residential Aged Care home, 70 plus Retirement Community units and community centre services.
- Planning works for the delivery of a long-term sustainable master plan design for our largest site, the Cardinal Gilroy Village in Merrylands continued. Stakeholder engagement sessions with residents, employees and family members resulted in the formulation of a Vision and Needs Statement that fed into our design competition brief. A shortlist of six of Sydney’s leading architectural firms were interviewed, with three invited and paid to create competitive master plan designs. The winning architects Jackson Teece, are working with SCC to plan for the longer term upgrade of this very important village.
With the deregulation of Home Care services earlier this year, our biggest challenge and opportunity was again within the Home Care market. An influx of new service providers, many from the ‘for profit’ sector, added increased competition and continues to challenge all providers.
Over the past 12 months, we focussed on adapting to the new, consumer-led market by honing integration of our business service streams into a more compelling, customer-centric offering. We are playing to our strengths including our near 50 years aged care experience, as well as tapping into our established Retirement Community footprint and well-established Home Care services.
Delivering quality care to people in their homes requires a strong team culture, in-demand product offerings together with efficient business processes.
To this end, we re-structured our Home Care service stream, including appointing Jan McIntosh as the Home Care Operations Manager and creating a new Regional Manager role for Sydney.
We invested substantially in implementing new systems and technologies as well as undertaking a recruitment drive to attract the best care employees.
Marketing and communicating SCC’s value proposition to new customers became increasingly important this year. The open market and increased competition mean consumers face a staggering array of choices, a complex pathway to care, unfamiliar terminology and an overall lack of awareness as to what support is available to assist them to live at home. We are attempting to fill this gap by improving our client intake practices and the information we make available to prospective customers.
One of our greatest opportunities – increasing the number of our Retirement Community clients tapping into our Home Care services was also in the spotlight. We are trialling a partnership between Home Care Service Co-ordinators and Village Liaison Officers at Merrylands. Together, teams provided information sessions aimed at increasing the number of residents registering for Government funded services, supported residents through the aged care assessment process and earmarked those requiring priority care. Based on its success, a similar program is now in the planning stages for our Retirement Community in Bateau Bay on the Central Coast.
We are treating this as a long-term investment as the national wait list for Home Care packages continues to grow, with wait times of up to twelve months recorded. By staying close to customers while they wait, we can offer interim care solutions and demonstrate our commitment to supporting them for the long-term. We also developed a range of simple information resources aimed at making it easier for customers to navigate aged care services and receive support from us.
As part of an operational review, we took a significant step in ceasing our existing brokerage staffing model. As a result expansion and recruitment of Home Care employees was a focus, and together with our People & Culture team successfully recruited a large number of new employees. Attracting and retaining care workers continues to be an ongoing challenge, with fierce competition for care workers, coupled with a shortage of aged care workers across the entire sector.
Throughout 2016 and up until the deregulation in February 2017, SCC concentrated on filling many previously allocated, vacant Home Care Packages, filling a total of 485 across all regions.
Operationally, we focussed on building capability and reach via our regional network which in turn is substantially boosting referral rates. Our Mid-North Coast hub in Casino expanded to service the further afield Tweed area in the North and Grafton in the South.
In the Central West, Parkes acquired new services in Bathurst and Orange, as well as delivering Home Care Packages into our Retirement Community in Cootamundra. In the Riverina, our Deniliquin service continues to go from strength to strength, expanding our customer base into the surrounding towns of Mathoura, Moama, Barham, and Albury.
This year, construction started on our new Home Care office co-located within the redeveloped Parkes Village. In line with our push for integration, Home Care clients will tap into activities scheduled at the community hall, cafe, allied health services, and programs on offer within our Residential Aged Care home. Additionally, a new satellite office was opened at our Caves Beach Residential Aged Care home to service those north of the Central Coast. At Merrylands, we built and opened a new Allied Health and Wellbeing Studio to service the needs of village and broader community clients.
Behind the scenes, we introduced a streamlined management model designed to centralise administration, improve efficiency and enhance customer experience.
We also rolled out an education program across all Home Care Service Advisors and care employees on legislative changes to Home Care services and new financial processes.
To further boost efficiency and customer service, a central rostering team was created to cover schedules for most of Sydney, as well as Central Coast and the Lower Hunter.
We also focussed on supporting our Retirement Community clients by networking with our Village Liaison Officers and Visiting Service to host information sessions aimed at demystifying aged care and assessments as well as identifying residents who would benefit from priority care.
To encourage collaboration across care streams, we commenced regional meetings to develop plans encouraging interaction and sharing of services across Residential Aged Care and Home Care. A good example of how this works is in Deniliquin where Home Care clients will visit our SCC Moama home for a tour and lunch as part of a day trip and shopping outing.
Discovering the Silver Lining
Pastoral & Spiritual Care and Volunteering
The Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt spoke publicly about the sad fact that in many aged care homes as many as 40% of residents never receive a visitor.
Across our homes and communities our wonderful teams seek to reduce loneliness and isolation. We often hear stories via our STAR employee recognition program of the generosity and kindness of our people, like the care worker who purchased clothes for a resident with limited funds and no family. Or the catering manager who comes in early to cook special treats and hosts parties for residents. Thanks to the support of so many incredible volunteers, many older people do not miss out on the simple and important pleasure of human contact.
As people age, they often have to face loss and grief on a scale they may not have experienced. The loss of a partner or dear friends, loss of health, diminishing mobility, fading eye-sight and overall loss of independence are difficult burdens to bear on your own. That’s why Pastoral & Spiritual Care is an essential part of the holistic services we provide. Our trained team often accompanied by volunteers provide love, compassion and support to our residents. Pastoral & Spiritual Care volunteers are trained over eight weeks, receiving ongoing education, supervision and support from their tam leaders and peers.
We are fortunate to attract the support of hundreds of generous volunteers who freely offer their time and services within our Residential Aged Care homes. With their support, our residents enjoy prayer groups and religious services, personal visits, friendship, outings as well as services like hairdressing, mobile libraries, arts and crafts, games and special interest groups including gardening. We particularly love the visiting pets who come with their owners and always manage to bring a smile to the faces of our residents and employees.
The Board of Directors
The Executive Team
People and Culture
We invested in our people this year as we continue building a culture focused on ensuring customers Live Life to the Full. A combination of effective talent management strategies, and enhancing our overall capability helped strengthen and connect employees with SCC’s objectives and values in both practical and meaningful ways.
We were delighted to again make the short-list for the Australian HR Awards 2017 for Best HR team over 1000 employees for the second year in a row.
Culture and Engagement
In June this year we shared the results of our second organisation-wide employee engagement survey. It was reassuring to record 64% of employees elected to participate in the survey conducted by engagement specialists, Voice Project. The survey provides employees with the opportunity to provide feedback on a wide range of areas including job satisfaction, leadership, and engagement. We take these survey results seriously as passion and culture directly translate to the quality and warmth of care provided by our teams.
We were pleased to report our overall employee engagement score was 83% which is 3% higher than the aged care sector results. The top scores were in Job Satisfaction 94%, Mission and Values 92%, Role Clarity 91% and Safety and Results Focus both at 87%. High engagement correlates with reduced staff turnover, which fell to 15%, well below the industry average of 22%.
The 2017 – 2020 SCC Enterprise Agreement was negotiated and agreed on by the workforce, again offering higher than average market increases to maintain our positon as an attractive employer in the sector.
Following the acquisition of Marian Nursing Home in North Parramatta, we welcomed their employees in late 2016, inducting them into SCC people-related programs and activities.
Talent Management and Development
This year the key focus was on delivering a new end-to-end talent management program called STAR’s. The objectives are to improve employee engagement, promote a culture of employee-led development, provide options for employees to easily find, request and access training, deliver a performance appraisal cycle that directly connects employee goals to business goals, provides quality reporting for managers and meets compliance requirements.
Uptake of the program is continuing to grow daily with a very positive 43% of employees receiving at least one positive, values-based feedback from a colleague.
Over 15,000 learning records have been uploaded into STAR’s, as well as all Police Checks and Right to Work records are now centrally stored and managed. Automatic renewal reminders now reduce risk and provide accurate, push-button style reporting.
Goal setting meetings are underway with managers and employees to connect employee goals to business strategy and learning outcomes to foster person-centred care outcomes across the business.
We continue focusing on workforce development as a driver of talent management. Beyond the annual eighteen hours of mandatory training, other workforce development areas including Panacea Pain Management and dementia awareness built on care employees capability and knowledge.
This year our workforce grew to 2,136 people and included more Registered Nurses qualified direct carers, education, and management roles. We also expanded our clinical workforce to support our care teams to meet the increasing acuity of our clients.
The talent acquisition team continues to attract high-quality employees to SCC, building networks across our footprint. Time-to-hire during this period fell to an average of 29 days. In the drive to improve the candidate experience and support our green philosophy, new hire documentation has been moved to an online portal, alleviating the need for hard copies of documentation.
We’ve recorded ongoing improvements to injury prevention and wellness as a result of the introduction of safety committees in 2016. Workplace consultation and education, supported by a program of webinars and teleconferences, has meant employees have consulted on a range of initiatives including migration to a smoke-free workplace, effective December 2017, to the release of new equipment and education for needle-stick injuries, which have been reduced to almost nil.
A proactive approach to safety, also means we have rapid return-to-work rates for ill and injured employees. Compared to last year, the number of workers compensation claims fell by 20%, and claims costs reduced by half, reducing our premiums favourably.
Finance & Technology
Technology continues to be both an enabler and differentiator in the fast-changing aged care sector so shoring up our technology continues to be a long-term investment for SCC.
This year we added new roles to the technology team to address the breadth and scope of technologies and support services we support. We are well-structured to continue to grow and meet the ongoing technology requirements of an exceptionally competitive sector
The 2016 – 2017 financial year kept our technology teams on their feet as we developed and grew our technology base to improve the day-to-day requirements needed to run a diverse organisation such as ours. Specific emphasis was directed to improving collaborative components across infrastructure and supporting services, to benefit clients, residents, and employees.
Across our Residential Services stream, we designed, planned and tested new internet access and telephony services to improve access and performance for our residents. The systems will be trialled in our new Residential Aged Care home under construction in Parkes.
Parkes is also the testing ground for a new integrated building management system, designed to centralise some services. Along with efficiencies and improved service levels, we anticipated the learnings from this site will help us fine-tune and roll-out the new systems to more of our Homes and Retirement Communities in the coming year.
The care of residents includes protecting their privacy and personal information details, with significant upgrades made this year to our primary care systems with additional upgrades scheduled for 2017 – 2018.
A major project, the development, and deployment of a new Home Care management system was a significant focus, against which we have made pleasing progress. This is an important project from a technology perspective as it will act as a launch pad for many mobility enabled services we plan to execute in the coming year.
In October 2016, we relocated close to 70 Support Services team members from our former offices in Merrylands, to our new office in Epping. The move necessitated deploying a host of advanced technical features and services, ultimately improving the working environment and opportunities for collaboration with our employees. It was also an opportunity to review telephony by implementing an enterprise view that will eventually encompass all SCC Residential Aged Care home and Retirement Community locations, as well as our network of offices.
Equipping staff with access to collaboration tools is a key component of the technology strategy, and during 2016/17 we installed dedicated employee information kiosks to all our Residential Aged Care homes. Now, employees who previously had limited access to computers now have access to email, rostering systems, the organisation’s intranet, training and education resources and some other online services.
The 2016-2017 financial year produced a surplus result for Southern Cross Care (NSW & ACT) which supports our good work and enables us to continue delivering on our strategic objectives. Good financial performance ensures we can continue to invest in our residents and clients, to take advantage of new development opportunities and provide for those who are socially and geographically disadvantaged.
Enterprise consolidation of technology and systems remained a key focus area, one which is enabling all areas of SCC to operate in a more efficient and integrated way. Our investment is paying off with increasingly streamlined, integrated data now delivering cost-savings and continuous improvements across all care streams and business services. The automation of finance processes continued as a focal point during the year.
A major milestone this financial year saw an industry-specific standard reporting format introduced, including benchmarking, and enhanced activity statistical data in monthly financial reports. We now have increased transparency and superior analytical reference across our service activities.
The graph below identifies the growth, expenditure and revenue allocation for Southern Cross Care (NSW & ACT) during 2016-2017.
Operating a profitable, scalable business means SCC is able to continue protecting the interests of financially disadvantaged clients; many who pay minimal contributions to the cost of their accommodation in both Residential Aged Care and our Retirement Communities.
Sustainability and our Commitment to a Better Future
Southern Cross Care is always looking for better ways to minimise our impact on the environment by improving our energy and resource efficiency.
The Green Team was founded with a common goal of incorporating sustainability across the organisation. Committed individuals within the organisation created The Green Team in 2011 and since then, have orchestrated both large and small-scale green projects, everything from worm farms to solar panel installations.
We track and monitor energy and resource usage across our Residential Aged Care homes and Retirement Communities, measuring our consumption against other aged care organisations. By comparing benchmarks set by the Office of Environment and Heritage and Key Performance Indicators, we are able to prioritise locations where we can reduce electricity consumption, water usage and waste management across the organisation. Our energy goal is to boost efficiency to 12 percent by 2020. We continue our pursuit for Gold Recognition from the Office of Environment’s Sustainability Advantage Program and hope to reach our goal in 2018.
We ensure new homes and corporate buildings, including refurbishments, incorporate Environmentally Sustainable Design principles. This year we again increased our solar array capacity from 116KW to 305KW and installed three Liquid Food Composters. The equal and proper care of the elderly and fair working conditions for our staff is an important element of our social sustainability drive. Residents and clients are significant stakeholders in our sustainability journey and we communicate our programs to engage them in our sustainability vision. Programs like the worm farms have really piqued peoples’ interest in sustainable practices and encouraged them to roll-up their sleeves and get involved. We regularly share our achievements and green news via Facebook and other social channels in an attempt to raise awareness of how the aged care industry can make an impact and to acknowledge our staff and residents who participate.
The Green Team is in the process of developing a sustainability toolkit for our clients and communities. The toolkit will suggest ways to incorporate more sustainable practices in the running of their homes, with achievable ideas on how to cut down energy and water bills and to implement recycling programs.
Employee education is helping encourage sustainable practices across all our sites, together we are reducing our carbon footprint and making a real difference. Our ongoing commitment to sustainability is reflected in our Business Strategic Plan across all departments and sectors within the organisation.
Southern Cross Care is committed to working with our communities to lead the way in innovative environmental sustainability works.
We invite everyone to be part of our green philosophy, if you have feedback, ideas or require any additional information on our environmental sustainability program and how to participate, please contact the Green Team on: email@example.com or 1800 632 314.
War On Waste
Donations & Bequests
We are grateful for the donations we have received from generous individuals throughout the year. We sincerely thank the following people and organisations for their contributions.
Donations & Bequests
With your generous support, we can provide services to care for older Australian’s. We are a not-for-profit organisation, and your support helps with the purchasing of equipment, enhancement of facilities and the delivery of many services that contribute to the happiness and well-being of our residents.
We appreciate all bequests and donations and sincerely thank those people and their families who have named us as a beneficiary. Naming us as a beneficiary of In Memoriam or Donations in Lieu of Flowers at the funeral of a loved one is another way to support our work.
For more information on any of our services, or to inquire about ways in which you can support the organisation, phone 1800 436 231 or email firstname.lastname@example.org