A lifestyle to Enjoy..
For more than 20 years, the Hutchinson Healthcare Group has been a leading family-owned and operated organisation. They have three beautiful aged care facilities, all optimally-positioned on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. Their first two facilities, Beaumont Terrace and Barclay Gardens, are located in the Great Lakes area of Forster-Tuncurry. Alma Place resides in Taree in the beautiful Manning Valley. Each facility focuses on bringing the best services to their residents.
“We pride ourselves on offering stylish yet comfortable accommodation. This is our residents’ home and we never lose sight of this” says Blaise Hutchinson, CEO of the Group. “Our philosophy has always been that we bring the services to our residents, and their families have always appreciated our high standard of care and support.”
The Hutchinson Healthcare Group was formally established in 2009, but the Hutchinson family has been active in the industry for decades. When the Group purchased Beaumont Terrace in 1994, it was an 80-bed facility. In 2006, they immediately increased the size of the facility to 130 places, with all of the new beds being single suites with en-suite bathrooms. The Group officially came together after this refurbishment, the building of Alma Place in 2007 and then Barclay Gardens in 2009.
Blaise’s personal involvement in the healthcare industry can be traced back to 1984. It was his mother Alma who inspired him to get involved in aged care. Alma was a registered nurse who went on to become Director of Care at the family’s facility in Albury, New South Wales.
“My parents passed away in 2000 and 2002 and I’ve continued on with the family’s aged care interests,” Blaise says. “It’s always been a family company and it remains that way today.”
Since the Hutchinson Healthcare Group has been around, the aged care industry has undergone many significant changes. The group has particularly felt the impact of the various regulatory changes and restrictions that have been imposed over the last decade.
“There have been, just in my time, three or four different funding changes and we have a new one now that started about four years ago,” Blaise says, referring to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) introduced in 2008 to allocate state government subsidies to residential aged care providers. “It takes a long time to learn how to optimise your funding, which is essential in aged care.”
“Most people seemed to be handling it well but there’s another wave of changes coming in 2014,”he adds. “They’re a bit vague at this point, but we’re all nervously waiting to see how it affects the industry.”
The three facilities boast a combined total of 350 low care, high care and dementia-specific places, and each facility offers an abundance of choices in the way of activities and outings. Each facility also “focuses largely on respite care,” Blaise says. “That has become almost a gateway to aged care these days. Most residents arrive for a short-term stay and decide to stay on permanently. We’re still finding that a lot of people don’t really know residential care until they’re faced with it. We’re always trying to encourage our residents to keep the community ties going.”
The key to achieving continued success, he says, is by treating each person individually. “Every resident should feel valued. We will always continue to reinforce this with our staff. We’re working on the person-centered approach so the residents are receiving the individual care that they need,” he says. “We like our staff focused on the person, not just the task.”
To man the facilities, the Hutchinson Healthcare Group employs a total of 300 staff, all of whom they enjoy a positive relationship with. Blaise says he is constantly amazed and impressed by the dedication shared by everyone who works under the Hutchinson banner.
“One of the main challenges facing aged care facilities is retaining staff. It’s a tough industry, but we have a good relationship with them,” he says. “We try and hold onto them as long as possible and try to remain as flexible as we possibly can.”
Each Hutchinson Healthcare facility is as-new and features state-of-the-art design. “Our combination of design and staff capability is what distinguishes a Hutchinson facility from other aged care facilities, Blaise says.
All facilities provide a comfortable and secure environment for those in need and are located in quiet, residential areas close to public transport and medical facilities.
Looking ahead, Blaise says that they will continue to maintain and improve the facilities in their portfolio – while also growing that portfolio. In the next few years, they plan to add new facilities outside of the Mid North Coast, either by buying existing facilities or developing new ones from scratch.
“It depends on what becomes available, but certainly that is part of the plan,” Blaise says. “All of our facilities have more than 100 beds, which is a desirable size. We will be looking elsewhere to establish facilities of this size so we can continue to provide care to those who need it most.”
With additional land available at their Forster and Taree sites, the Group says there is the possibility of building new self-care apartments in the near future.
As far as long-term vision, Blaise sees the Group establishing themselves as an aged care provider of choice, with a team of professional and trained staff who enjoy being part of the Hutchinson Healthcare Group, and a roster of residents who enjoy it even more.