CEO News February 2019
What a wonderful afternoon we had on Thursday 31 January to start our Silver Jubilee celebrations. The weather was kind to us and it was lovely to have so many people join us. Why the 31 January you may ask? Well, that was the day I commenced as the Executive Officer, 25 years ago at what was then known as Geelong Multicultural Hostel. What a journey those 25 years have been and how fortunate I have been to lead this very value-driven organisation. But our celebration on Thursday was not about me; it was a wonderful opportunity to thank a range of people and organisations, each in their own way having contributed to the fabric of life at MACS. Firstly, we celebrated the official opening of our Walking Track, acknowledging the creative work of artists, Jan & Geo Francis from Moongate Studios. In particular we thank all those supporters of our 2017 Annual Giving Appeal who donated $11,206 and together with a $5,000 grant from CALD Seniors Grant Program, Department of Health and Human Services, made this happen. As we walked the track we stopped and officially opened Stan’s Shed, a multi-purpose space that has been created in memory of Slobodan (Stan) Mirkovic, a founding Board Director who gave so much to MACS in its formative years and who passed away unexpectedly in November 2015. A generous donation by his wife Elaine enabled us to re-fit this shed – a shed that Stan had actually erected at MACS in the early years. It was indeed an emotional moment as Elaine officially unveiled the plaque in the presence of her 4 daughters, partners, grandchildren and sisters. A special man gone too soon, but will always be remembered fondly by all at MACS. Continuing our walk, we returned to the piazza where we acknowledged our partnership with Geelong Sustainability and outlined our vision for continuing to “green” MACS. The afternoon concluded with the most delicious celebration cake, cut by the Chair of the Board, Gael Perry, MACS Patron Frank Costa and myself. This was just the first of many celebrations for the year so please stay tuned for what else is to come.
From the happiness of celebrating 25 years of service to the community, we then turn to the seriousness of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and it is my intention that I keep you updated on what is happening with the Commission through this newsletter. The Commission, announced in September 2018, is an opportunity to engage in a much-needed constructive discussion about the future of aged care, including how as a society we will deliver the quality services our population needs today and will need into the future. While the vast majority of Australia’s aged care services deliver good quality care, there have been some distressing stories reporting incidences of poor care. We at MACS have zero tolerance for poor, inattentive care or any form of abuse of vulnerable people. We believe that all older Australians should be able to expect high quality care, and at MACS we strive to provide that each and every day. All aged care providers across the country have received a request to provide information from the past five years, including incidences of sub-standard care and complaints, how we dealt with any such instances and what system improvements we instituted. Providers have also been asked for suggestions on how services could be improved, and examples of innovation and good practice. The Commission’s final report is due in April 2020.
MACS is preparing a response to the Commission which held its first public hearing (a Directions Hearing) on Friday 18 January. That hearing outlined how the Commission will be conducted.
If you or your family have any concerns about the care you (or your loved one) is receiving, please contact myself or a member of your care team. In the first instance, your queries can be directed to Luba Pryslak, Director of Care at LubaP@macs.org.au or by telephoning 03 5279 6800 or Karin Bauer, Home Services Manager, at KarinB@macs.org.au or by telephoning 03 5202 5380. If you prefer, or feel more comfortable, you can directly contact the following agencies for advice and support:
Older Persons Advocacy Network: www.opan.com.au/advocacy or telephone 1800 700 600.
We believe the attention the Commission will bring to aged care can be harnessed for the good of all Australians. We at MACS remain committed to providing the highest quality care and are here to support you and discuss any queries or concerns you may have with the issues raised during the period of the Commission.