Peninsula Village Group is an award-winning, community-owned provider of premium aged care services. Since 1975, they have made it their mission to provide high quality, individualised care that continually enhances their resident’s quality of life.
Today, the company provides that care in a variety of settings. For example, the company owns two villages at Umima Beach. One is the titular Peninsula Village, which provides tri-level care for varying individual needs. The other is Cooinda Village, which has independent lifestyle apartments within a relaxed, secure and friendly environment. A third facility is called Ambleside, and consists of 13 waterfront lifestyle apartments.
Between these options, Peninsula offers a whole continuum of care services – from retirement living to assisted care, low care, high care and dementia-specific care. Residents can move through those various care stages in their lifetime without having to relocate to a new service provider, which minimises their stress and maximises their comfort.
Throughout the group, Peninsula employs over 300 people, along with 92 volunteers. According to CEO Gareth Norman, the strength of this team is what sets Peninsula Village apart.
“People work here not just because it’s a place to work, but because it’s a vocation,” he explains. “We have no problem retaining staff. We have fantastic educational processes here, which allow team members to express themselves and grow as professionals. How we do that, how we recognize the need for education and training – that’s what makes us a place you can stay for many years.”
Melinda Dempsey, Executive Care Manager at Peninsula Village, has personally been with the group for 16 years. Many of her colleagues have been there even longer.
“We’re about growing our staff and building relationships,” Melinda explains. “We look for staff who are empathic to the needs of the frail and aged, and who can be team players. We believe residents need to have control, choice and flexibility, and we employ staff who engage in that philosophy.”
She adds that Peninsula Village earns the loyalty of those dedicated staff members in a variety of ways – including by providing incentives such as gym memberships, bonuses, and discounts in the community.
“We even have members of the big four banks that give our teams accounts in which there is no monthly or ongoing fees,” adds Gareth. “So the whole community contributes – even the larger industry players assist our team in one way or another.”
Peninsula Village’s dedication has earned the group many awards over the years, according to Melinda. Their accolades include Positive Living in Aged Care awards in both 2011 and 2012, an ACSA Award for Excellence in 2013, and the Provider Assist’s 2012 Travel Scholarship, to name only a few.
“It’s a lovely thing to keep nominating staff and projects for these awards,” says Melinda. “It’s great when our people get recognition of the good work that they’re doing.”
Last year, Peninsula won the 2013 Better Practice Award in the Resident Lifestyle category at Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency Ltd Awards. The accolade was won for their work on a scrapbooking project, which they used as a vehicle to assist residents to feel a connection to their new home. It also ended up providing the opportunity for two generations to work together.
The project first started when a collection of photographs were rediscovered showing the Village being built from the ground up. It was then decided to attempt to scrapbook these photographs with Residents who were identified as being withdrawn, showing symptoms of depression and feelings of isolation. The idea behind this was by creating the pages of the Peninsula Village being built, the residents would be building their new home together.
“That project was really for those people,” says Melinda. “They have to leave their home and their lifestyle, and there’s a definite grieving process attached to that. In asking how we could improve that transition, we came upon the idea of encouraging participation in building something that would help restructure what home was for them.”
After the project commenced in February 2012, it was soon realised that some of the details required to tell the story on each page were perhaps too “fiddly” for the residents alone. Therefore, students from Brisbane Water Secondary College were approached for assistance.
The scrapbooking project soon grew beyond its original intentions, providing a mutual point for both the students and the residents to commence a relationship. Through the project, a path for communication was provided that overcame any initial awkwardness and kindled new friendships.
By the completion of the project, a marked improvement was seen in the previously lonely residents. Staff attending to resident assessments reported a significant change in the sociability and overall happiness in these individuals, due largely in part to their contributions to the project.
A vision for the future
“Our vision is multi-fold,” says Gareth. “We need to be mindful of why we’re here, of course, and to consider those committee members who generated the funds and the vision to build a facility like ours. We also need to continue to still be the preferred provider on the peninsula, although whether that is more directly aligned to a niche market like dementia care or simply general aged care is undecided.”
“It’s about maintaining and sustaining where we’ve been and where we’re continuing to go,” he continues. “We need to ensure that our residents are first and foremost in everything that we do, and that we uphold our mission and values.”
“Aside from those goals, the biggest hurdle for the future is going to be the government reforms,” Gareth concludes. “We want to continue to be a community-based operator providing quality care at an affordable price. But for that to happen, industry providers like ours are going to need extra support and consideration. We hope that when we put in an application for additional funding modules through consumer-directed care, we are looked upon favourably.”
To learn more about Peninsula Village and their range of services, visit their website at http://peninsulavillage.com.au/