The Glenview promise
Glenview is an aged care services provider based in central Glenorchy, on the outskirts of Hobart – an area that contains approximately four times the aged population of anywhere in Tasmania. Glenview has been providing quality care to the community for over 60 years, offering high quality outreach services, day support services, independent living units, respite care and residential care.
As a result of their strong community focus – which they have had since inception – Glenview is highly regarded locally. “We haven’t asked anything of the local community other than to let us be a part of it,” says Lucy O’Flaherty, Glenview’s CEO.
The company was founded in 1948, shortly after the Second World War. It was started by the Anglican community, and evolved into an independent and non-profit community services provider in early 1982. Today, their residential service has 99 beds and consists of a mix of high and low care. In addition, they run just shy of 100 community care packages.
As an aged care provider, Glenview is committed to providing diverse housing and accommodation options. Within their facility in Glenorchy they have two day centres – one funded by Health and Community Care and the other by the National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP). They also have 10 independent living units on site, which are for individuals who wish to live on their own but still have access to services in the immediate vicinity should their care needs change. Even more, Glenview owns a number of rental properties in the local community.
Lucy has been with Glenview for seven months, having come from a career in the community services sector. She says her work at Glenview has been an inspiring change of pace. “One of the things that really attracted me to Glenview was that it was an organization that does an amazing job,” she says. “It has a great ethos about not just saying that resident’s needs are first, but actually putting them first in their day-to-day work.”
According to Lucy, it’s the little things that set Glenview apart from other aged care providers. For example, they provide things for free that private sector companies would charge for, like a glass of sherry before dinner. They also provide high quality meals, and offer extensive daily activities. “That’s just part of who we are,” she says. “There’s a real heart to the place.”
Glenview has 130 staff to pump blood into that heart, and Lucy says she is constantly impressed by her employees’ integrity. “Aged care is renowned for being a very challenging industry to work in,” she explains. “It demands a lot in terms of time, energy and skills. We find that we have a good complement of staff that provides those things. You can see through their day-to-day interaction with residents and each other that they are here for the right reasons. They are here for the residents and they’re here for the clients in the community.”
“We have a really genuine good team spirit here,” she adds. As a company, they foster that team spirit in a number of ways, including on-the-spot recognition rewards. Also, as CEO, Lucy has a group of employees meet with her for coffee once a month so she can field and ask questions about the look, feel and vibe of Glenview as a place to live and work.
The main challenge for Glenview is equipping their staff with the skills the market demands – skills that are constantly changing along with patterns of illness. The other challenge is providing appropriate remuneration, which is an industry-wide issue. Glenview is already paying staff above-the-award rates, and Lucy says they will be making further incremental increases in the future. “If people can get more working at K-Mart or Big W than here, then that’s wrong,” she says.
In addition to their staff, Glenview has 107 volunteers. That pool helps them within their service, within the community, and with fundraising as well. “We couldn’t do half of what we do without those volunteers,” Lucy says. “They are a very big part of the Glenview family.”
In general, philanthropy is important to Glenview – and the aged care industry at large. As a not-for-profit organisation, they survive on federal funding and the goodwill of the community. Lucy advises individuals and businesses that are looking at their triple-bottom-line, and looking to give back to community, to not forget about aged care. “Aged care can provide a lot of value for money, and can also provide the community with lifelong ongoing benefits,” she says.
Moving forward, Glenview plans to diversify and extend their community care services. Demand and willingness for those services is constantly growing, and they want to have a greater presence in that space accordingly. More people want to stay in their own homes for longer – something Glenview already knew, but the recent Productivity Commission report confirmed – and they want to respond to that.
The challenge in that arena, however, is the federal government and the lack of funding, or lack of rises in funding. “It’s a challenge to provide extended community care when we’ve got increasing costs,” Lucy explains. “We want to look at how we attend to community needs, but in a sustainable way.”
“As an aged care organisation we’re facing increasing capital expenditures,” she continues. “Whilst we own the building and we own the land, if funding doesn’t actually change we’re not going to be able to meet the costs of upgrading our infrastructure, looking at new technology, meeting demands and expanding our operations to meet the needs of older Australians.”
Additionally, Lucy says they want to diversify the services they offer residents as well. “It’s not just about what we do, but how we do it,” she says. “We want to increase the standard of care – things like music, art and humour therapy are really important to us. When you’re in this facility, life doesn’t stop. We don’t have a mission statement or a value statement. We have something called ‘the Glenview promise’, and it’s a commitment we make to everyone who is a client of Glenview. It’s a promise of a good life.”
Finally, as a small-to-medium, not-for-profit organisation, Lucy sees an opportunity for Glenview to be a leader – to pilot new programs, and show other providers how good quality innovative services can be offered in a cost effective way. For example, they are currently examining the possibility of having a Glenview GP. They are also introducing a sensory garden. “These are all things we do to improve the quality, but we also need to rebrand and remarket our organization. Baby boomers are our next audience. They’re the next aged care recipients, and they have different expectations for standards of care.”
In general, Lucy says that Glenview has a vision. In 10 years, she wants to see Glenview as a leader in aged care – not just in Tasmania, but nationally.
“We know what the issues are, and we want to work collaboratively with our families and residents and our staff and our volunteers to get to the end goal. We are the best aged care provider in Tasmania – that is our firm belief – and what we’ll be doing is spending the next 12 months to two years improving that in the community and coming to grips with what aged care will look like in the future.”