CEO News September 2019

Dear friends,

The last 10 days of August were particularly difficult at MACS as we learnt of the death of our founding and long-standing Director, former Board Chairman and Life Governor Jordan Mavros OAM.  Many of you may not have known him, but his contribution to this organisation was immeasurable.  He will always be remembered and treasured for the strength of his commitments, his enthusiasm, his wisdom, the genuineness of his friendships, the sincerity of his purpose, the quiet courage of his convictions, the fun, laughter, joy and happiness he brought to MACS.  His legacy will always live on deep within MACS.

Being in quite a reflective mood, I was reminded of an article a colleague of mine wrote, which I would like to share with you.  Sometimes it is very easy to focus on the things that go wrong which is minute compared to all the wonderful caring interactions that happen day to day be it in the home or in residential care.

“On a personal note, I’d like to share my story…

As a daughter it feels like I am being bombarded with consent forms to sign for Residents Charter of Rights, national KPI’s and information about system change. I wonder if all this regulation is going to make a difference to my mum’s care or if the staff will be torn between administrative pressures as opposed to spending time with her?

As a CEO it seems to me a problem is that good care is invisible. Poor care is all too obvious as we have heard through the Royal Commission. We have also heard from staff giving clear evidence that they feel pressured between regulatory compliance and care.

Stewart Brown and others are compiling strong evidence of the financial pressure with wage indexation growth of 36.7% over the past decade offset by ACFI indexation of 18.9%. Our volunteers and families are asking why we have cut staff hours over the past few years as they perceive a significant change. Their observation of change is correct but the cause is not decreased hours, which have remained the same, it is a reflection of increased complexity.

When I consider my mother’s care, which her psycho-geriatrician confirms is excellent as she presents so well, I am reminded that mum has an incurable disease for which only symptom relief is available. The care is so good mum’s dignity and relationships are preserved and she presents so well it is easy as a daughter to forget (or deny) just how much help she is getting to live her life and that it is a very high level of skilled care she is receiving.

Much relief and the opportunity to enjoy life within mum’s context is offered through good care. Good care includes monitoring and assistance with hydration, nutrition, hygiene, sleep, clothing, appearance and two hourly toileting. Then there are the exercise classes, social interaction and activities mum enjoys.

The doctor gently reminds me that added to this good care is the relationship with staff, enabling mum to feel loved. I am also reminded that family support and visits help mum to retain her identity.”

I am not naïve enough to deny that things do go wrong and with open disclosure we work hard to correct those issues so they don’t happen again, but it is in a partnership of mutual respect for each other and acknowledgement that in the current environment we are working within it can at times be challenging.”

On Sunday 22 September we are holding a MACS Spring Open Day from 12 noon to 3pm to show the broader community what residential care is all about.  Tours will be offered on the half hour, food from around the world will be able to be purchased, our Café will be open as will our Boutique and a Craft Stall.  We will also have the ‘Stilleto Sisters’ to entertain.  The Sisters have been wooing audiences for over a decade with their seductive blend of Hungarian gypsy, tango and love songs from around the world performing with extraordinary emotional range and intensity with more than a touch of humour.  They have entertained our Residents before and they just loved.  So you are all very welcome to come in and join us, hopefully on a beautiful spring day.  We would love to have your company.  We are working with our Residents and will ensure their Rooms and belongings will be secure throughout the Open Day.

Warm regards,

Joy

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