Ainsley Nursing Home is a 70 bed corporate business dedicated to providing holistic quality care to all residents. Their vision is to provide care “for the whole person,” in a peaceful and secure homelike environment. By doing that in a very professional, affordable, and accessible way, Ainsley Nursing Home has proven that small aged care facilities – if managed well – can provide a high level of care, be competitive, and generate a high return on investment.
To achieve that kind of success in the aged care industry, companies often have to be willing and capable of doing things a little differently. At Ainsley Nursing Home, they have both the will and the capacity.
The first thing they do differently is staffing. At Ainsley, senior staff have total responsibility for the management of their own departments. They are supported by a Resource Manager, who oversees the general operation services of the facility and ensures quality of care and life for all residents. The rest of the facility’s staff is supported by management, treated fairly, and work well as a team.
“I understand that an organisation’s culture should be demonstrated by its senior leaders,” says Ann Davies, CEO at Ainsley Nursing Home and a veteran of the aged care industry in her own right. “I have always emphasised the importance of integrity and ethics.”
“I have the vantage point of experience,” she adds. “For a number of years it has been my privilege to serve as a Director of various industry Boards. I have had the opportunity to be able to contribute to the growth of aged care from the cottage industry to the corporate industry. The journey has been both inspiring and rewarding.”
All about care
By providing staff with a friendly workplace environment, and offering them workplace flexibility, Ainsley has engendered tremendous loyalty among their workers. In an industry where retaining staff is one of the primary challenges, Ainsley Nursing Home maintains a turnover rate of only 2.5 per cent, and no agency staff of any description is ever used. “My management style encompasses a constructive approach by working with ‘with’ staff to ensure that they achieve the results they and the organisation requires,” Davies says.
According to Davies, staff views Ainsley Nursing Home – and all the people within – as a family. There is cooperation and cohesion in the workplace, and staff have concern for each other and for each resident. “It’s not just about making money, it’s about care,” says Davies. “We strive for good outcomes and bear in mind the best interests of our residents.”
Throughout the year, Ainsley Nursing Home also hosts students from the University of Western Sydney, Australian Catholic University, Charles Darwin University and the College of Nursing for the component of their course, Older Adult Nursing. Groups from Japan and Korea also visit annually to visualise first-hand how aged care works at the coal face in Australia.
Old fashioned values
From a care perspective, Ainsley Nursing Home set themselves apart by combining old fashioned values with modern technology. They put a significant emphasis on improvement, and care systems are consistently audited and reviewed. It’s important to Davies that the organisation is always investigating and implementing new systems to improve the delivery of care for the betterment of residents. However, there are no answering machines – all people are attended to promptly and with respect and consideration.
“Dignity and respect is maximised,” she says. “There is an emphasis on ethics and integrity. Ainsley is our residents’ home and we never lose sight of this. All services that we provide underpin that basic philosophy.”
“We operate with compassion, respect and empathy,” Davies adds. “We have a dedicated welcoming committee, and staff interact with residents in a cheerful and positive manner. We also have a settling in program to help new residents adjust to their new environment.”
Moving into an aged care facility can be a challenging process, and can lead to reactions such as depression. Ainsley Nursing Home recognises this and ensures all new residents are screened for depression, and supported socially and emotionally. They provide daily customised activities and endeavour to keep each day busy and interesting. “Everything is client focussed and sensitive to the individual,” Davies says.
Another thing that Ainsley does to set itself apart is ensure that the points of view of others are taken into consideration. They listen to their residents and their representatives, and make sure their voices and perspectives are heard. They also specialise in the care of people with dementia and end-of-life-care, and extend care to special groups including people of Polish, Italian and Indian descent – they communicate with those community groups to ensure that care is appropriate to cultural needs and beliefs.
Moving forward, Davies recognises that the ‘Living Longer, Living Better’ aged care reform package has caused uncertainty and raised concerns throughout the industry. Instead of focusing on the challenges, however, she has decided to look at the opportunities. “No journey is without its pain,” she says. “We must face up to dealing with the aged care reforms.”
To keep up with those reforms, Davies says they have looked at things like future competition and the rising expectations of consumers. They must replace old stock and upgrade their facilities, optimise AFCI and maximise occupancy. From a staffing perspective, they must keep turnover to a minimum, continue to improve staff education and training, and introduce nurse practitioners.
“To remain an outstanding aged care facility, we must not only continue to strive to improve and enhance the services we provide,” Davies says, “But we must also be proactive in adapting to the requirements of the Aged Care
Reforms and in creating new services to meet the changing requirements and expectations of consumers and the coming ‘boom’ of seniors.”
“Ainsley Nursing Home is a unique environment,” she adds in conclusion. “We take pride in our delivery of services and always ensure that our residents are our main focus and priority. We genuinely care about our elderly and we aim to make our residents’ lives as comfortable and as happy as possible.”