A superior alternative
Superior Care Group (SCG) is a modern residential aged care provider committed to offering excellent care and community involvement to its residents. To do this, they employ an inclusive philosophy that encompasses innovative therapies, modern clinical care, as well as spacious surroundings and beautiful gardens throughout their facilities.
The group started in 1979, when Russell Egan Snr purchased a 46-bed nursing centre known as Loma Linda Nursing Home in Wellington Point. In 2001, SCG redeveloped that facility, constructing a brand new 48 single-room home to ensure ongoing certification and safety for residents. In 2004, they updated the site again after receiving further allocations from the government. Finally, in 2006 they were awarded 94 places to construct a new low, high and dementia care service at Merrimac. That service opened in 2011.
Russell D. Egan, second-generation Director of SCG, worked in government and private consulting before joining the family business in 2003. He claims it is the commitment of SCG’s management team that sets it apart from the competition. “All of our key managers, including my father and myself, are all very familiar with the legislative framework and the obligations of being approved providers,” he says. “We are a hands-on family company. We are the owners, we are the directors, we are the executives and we’re all approachable 24 hours a day.”
This means that when someone brings their family into one of the Superior Care services, they will be dealing with the individuals who own the business – the people who have their own money and capital at risk. “They know that if they are not happy with the service they can go straight to the bosses and let them know, and we will get involved,” Egan explains. “That gives people great peace of mind.”
The other central way in which SCG stands out in the market is their adoption of the “Eden Alternative,” an alternative philosophy to the current dominant clinical model of providing aged care. According to the Eden Alternative, when clinical care is promoted as being the only focus of life for an ageing person, life can become sterile and boring. The Eden Alternative is about introducing other focuses, and ensuring the ageing process is fun, empowering and friendly. “That’s reflected in the design of our facilities, and also reflected in our approach to care for our residents,” Egan says.
The SCG sites have open designs, with plentiful landscaping – they are not high rise, high density buildings. Egan says their residents are encouraged to treat their residential service like their homes. “Families and volunteers are welcome to enjoy our services and to join in improving our services and beautifying the facilities. When someone comes on site, they see that the place is very peaceful and visually appealing for our residents.”
SCG invest a lot of time and effort into the design and planning of their sites, and are dedicated to an aesthetic and relaxing atmosphere. Wellington Park Private Care has an open space known as their Eden Farm, which is a 1.5-acre fenced off hobby farm with seats and walking tracks. Domestic farm and native animals live on-site. “This is a unique benefit for our residents and their relatives to enjoy when they come to visit.” Egan explains.
At Merrimac Park Private Care, SCG’s second facility, two-thirds of the 3.5 hectare site is open space. Central to the site is The Green, a recreational lawn and walking path, and The Pavilion function area. “People loves open spaces and rich landscaped surrounds,” Egan says. “Our residents can forget about the stresses of urbanised life atMerrimacPark.”
Finally, Superior Care is set apart by the quality of their staff, and a workplace culture that reflects the company’s family values. “The vast majority of our staff are women. We know and understand the importance of balancing work and family commitments. That’s why we retain so many of our people. Many of our staff – in particular, our key personnel – have worked with SCG for long periods,” Egan says. “Every year we conduct a long-service awards ceremony, where we recognise staff members who have reached significant milestones in their service with SCG,” Egan says.
SCG looks for particular qualities in new employees that reflect SCG’s corporate values. “We are constantly looking for new staff who are positive, enthusiastic and committed to the continuous improvement ethos.” They also look for staff with excellent communication skills. “It’s very important to have great communication skills when you’re dealing with aging people,” Egan explains. “They have certain expectations of service, and many of them are dealing with disabilities, so we need to be able to be respectful, focussing at all times on the resident’s needs, providing them with love, dignity and choice.”
Looking to the future, Egan says the company plans to expand both of their existing sites. TheirMerrimacParkfacility has approved plans for another 32 place care service. Similarly,WellingtonParkholds an approval for a further 64 place care service. Both of these services will be developed as the market grows and the Commonwealth determines the need is required in the area.
“Our overarching philosophy will always be a personal hands-on approach to care. We want SCG to remain family oriented, accessible to our staff, residents and families,” Egan states. “Residential aged care requires that personal touch – it should never be allowed to become a commodity. We hope to instil our values in all our staff so that our residents feel important. We want our residents to have a positive experience when living in our services, and we want them to tell their friends and family.”