The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2017-08-18T07:43:35Z When neighbours become good friends 2017-08-18T07:43:35Z when-neighbours-become-good-friends The close friendship of Sue Marsden and Margaret Dixon is truly a case of the stars aligning. In December 2016, it was through pure serendipity that Margaret and Alan Dixon moved next door to Sue at Settlers Retirement Village, Forest Lake. Sue introduced herself to the couple the night they moved in, armed with a home-cooked dinner, and a beautiful friendship was formed instantly. “I thought, isn’t that beautiful that Sue had brought over some dinner for us,” said Margaret. “Years ago we did that all the time, but now nobody does it anymore so I thought it was wonderful.” Margaret and Sue soon discovered they had a connection through the small adjoining country towns in central Queensland in which they were raised. Sue grew up in the town of Tambo in the 1960s, with a current population of 345, and Margaret was raised just an hour away in Augathella. Sue's interest was sparked when she spotted a “Tambo Teddy” in Alan and Margaret's living room. Sue discovered that Alan passed through Tambo with his son and grandson about 15 years ago, and picked up the teddy as a memento. “There is still so much for us to catch up on, and learn about each other,” said Sue. Married for 53 years, Alan and Margaret Dixon first met in Hong Kong where they were stationed in the army. Alan being English and Margaret, Scottish, the couple have been blessed with three beautiful children, and six grandchildren. Margaret has a passion for patchwork, and was quite active in the community, making quilts for the local school and the Wesley Hospital when she lived in Laidley.  Margaret also used to teach patchwork but is no longer able to do so due to her health. On the other hand, Alan is described as “soccer mad”, and even started up his own soccer club many years ago. Since moving to Envigor, Alan and Margaret have been more than impressed, especially when they first met Executive Manager, Tracey Silvester, describing her as honest, straight-to-the-point and 'told us exactly how it was'. “Envigor is so caring, it is almost unbelievable that you can have such good care,” said Margaret. Sue was forced to hide her Aboriginal identity for many years, due to her ex-husband’s disapproval, and only started rediscovering her heritage about 12 years ago. “I missed it because I really didn’t know who I was, and now I understand what it means to me to be Aboriginal, and to be proud of it,” said Sue. Sue eventually left Tambo to become a Registered Nurse: “It was one of those things out west that most girls did, I really had a lot of fun and I enjoyed my nursing.” Sue now volunteers her time at the Inala Indigenous Community Health Centre. “Being a nurse and coming from an Indigenous background, I can join into just about anything from cooking back to nursing, so it’s exciting because as I’m Indigenous I am now considered an elder, which is such an honour.” Sue describes the services she receives from Envigor's Western Suburbs Brisbane Community Care Business Partner, Jan Green as “exceptional”. “Support is only a phone call away,” said Sue. “There have been a couple of times when I have needed help urgently, and Jan has always been there with the kindness of help, and it is very important that we get that help.” This real life case of love your neighbour as you love yourself truly is the caes for Sue and Margaret, two women who have been brought together by fate after living in small adjoining towns for years, and not being aware of the other’s existence. “I love my neighbours because you can just go outside your front door, and if you are feeling down, they pick you right back up and there is always someone to say hello to,” said Margaret. “It is a reward on its own just knowing Sue, and being able to spend time with her. “Just knowing that she is there is enough.” -ends-Joanne Rahn Director zanthii communications Phone: 0402 148 334 Email: Facebook: Home care is where the heart is 2017-08-18T07:38:02Z home-care-is-where-the-heart-is Aged care worker, Cindy Jordan has had the opportunity to work with a variety of special clients during her time at Envigor Home Care, but now has one very close to her heart. In January this year, Cindy's 89-year-old mother, Sylvia Joyce suffered a medication-related episode which landed her in hospital for two weeks. Sylvia began to lose her mobility and cognitive abilities as a result of the stroke-like symptoms. Since this unfortunate episode, Cindy started caring for her mother professionally through Envigor, and she receives almost 20 hours of care per week. “I enjoy looking after my Mum both professionally and personally,” said Cindy. “She is always happy, and never complains even though she has had quite a hard life.” After working in the aged care industry for many years, Cindy became frustrated with clients' needs not being met, and soon after made the switch to Envigor in 2016. “Envigor has given me the opportunity to truly meet the needs of my clients, and the autonomy to be able to work on a personal level with each client, tailoring their care needs to what they want to have in place, truly consumer director care,” said Cindy. “This is my goal, and when I have achieved this, I can say that I am very, very happy - that is my reward.” Cindy and Sylvia have had their fair share of hard times, but assure they are a very close family, and support one another at all times. “We believe in being there for each other, my Mum is my rock,” said Cindy. Sylvia spends her days gardening, and still enjoys a trip to Bunnings whenever she has the chance, in addition to singing in the local village choir, and attending weekly rehearsals. Cindy herself has also become involved with the local music centre at Rothwell, along with her older brother. “We often have recitals and stage shows which Mum takes great interest in, and loves seeing the footage of our performances,” said Cindy. Sylvia was still going down to the swimming pool for her daily swim until earlier this year when her health deteriorated. Her daily ritual involved a 6am swim at the retirement village where everyone in the complex knew her, and referred to her as ‘frog’. However, Sylvia is known as ‘Nin’ to all her grandchildren (as her eldest grandson couldn’t quite pronounce 'Nan'). Sylvia will be celebrating her 90th birthday in October with her family by her side. “She says that she is lucky to have me as a daughter, but I say that I am lucky to have her as a Mum as she is the one who moulded me, and I wouldn’t be who I am without her,” said Cindy. -ends-Joanne Rahn Director zanthii communications Phone: 0402 148 334 Email: Facebook: Life-long volunteer finally puts her feet up in Cairns 2017-08-18T07:31:15Z life-long-volunteer-finally-puts-her-feet-up-in-cairns A Queensland for all ages is the theme for this year's Senior's Week, and Lesley Kerr is a prime example of a Senior who has committed her life to the community. Lesley, 74 has lived a life of fulfilling her passion for the community, and the betterment of the lives of others. Lesley and husband Don, 79 made the move from Gladstone to Cairns in 2010 for the warmer weather. The dedicated Senior was actively involved in the Gladstone community – Lesley acted as the Gladstone Geneaology Society Treasurer for many years, managed the local library roster from 1992 until 2010, and was a proud member of the Collinsville Lions Club for seven years, along with husband Don. Married for 54 years, the couple have been blessed with three children, eight grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. In October 2016, both Lesley and Don acquired home care from Envigor and continuously praise the care, support and awareness provided by the home care givers. “Envigor’s available to help when we need it,” said Lesley. “They work around our lifestyle and flexible around any changes needed. “Although we don’t need much support, only domestic help fortnightly, we know that we will need more support later on so we wanted to be a part of the community from the start.” Before marriage, Lesley worked with the Commonwealth Bank for five years. “I’ve been the home organiser all my married life as employers didn’t take married women back then,” said Lesley Lesley’s main hobbies include family history, genealogy, crossword puzzles, reading and ten-pin bowling. “Lesley's dedication and contribution to the community and her family is greatly appreciated, and an inspiration to all those around her,” said DonJoanne Rahn Director zanthii communications Phone: 0402 148 334 Email: Facebook: 60 is the new 40: Career change at 62 years young 2017-08-01T07:36:52Z 60-is-the-new-40-career-change-at-62-years-young Aged care worker, Karen Gerrard is set to make a difference in the Cairns community after a mid-life career change led her to doing what she loves. After holidaying in Cairns, and visiting for conferences and forums over the last 20 years, the Community Business Partner at Envigor Home Care made a permanent move to the region in August 2016 as it 'always felt like home' and 'a great community to work in'. “Once I had completed my Aged Care and Disability Care Certificates, I made the move to Cairns to settle down in what I felt was the perfect retirement spot, before stumbling upon the opportunity to work at Envigor,” said Karen."I'm 63 years old and probably living proof that 60 is the new 40. We're living longer and with better health, nutrition and treatments so retirement for me doesn't mean giving up paid work but continuing to move forward, looking for opportunities along the way that may lead me on yet another road or two before my body tells me to stop!" Karen lived and worked in Alice Springs for 17 years prior to making the sea change move to Queensland, firstly to the central region, and now the far north. Previously living and working in Rockhampton for the last 10 years as a care co-ordinator for a local church organisation, Karen became disheartened, and frustrated, with the work overload and poor organisational structure. Karen soon realised that aged care was the direction she wanted to pursue, following her prior experience with cancer support, disability services, child care and her own personal experience with her late mother. “My mother received home care for the last 10 years of her life, so I had first-hand experience of the benefits to client and family of this type of aged care support,” said Karen. Karen gained her Diploma of Education in 1973, and then spent two years teaching in country South Australia in an Area School (Years 1 to 12 on the same site), and two years as a secondary school teacher. “When my then husband was transferred back to the country, I became involved in child care, way back in 1978, and was instrumental in gaining federal funding for a purpose-built centre adjacent to a kindergarten, becoming the first community-based child care centre manager for the town,” said Karen. Reflecting on her new career, Karen feels there is no such thing as an average day in aged care. Her day may consist of making phone calls to book pop-up stall venues, co-ordinating volunteers, visiting prospective clients and their families, working on the next edition of the Envigor newsletter or even delivering a presentation at a services club. “I love the variety of the workload, the clients and families that I meet, and the sense of accomplishment when I'm thanked for the support we put in place,” said Karen. With Envigor’s low case management and administration fees, Karen is particularly interested in talking to people across the Cairns region who feel they need more from their Home Care Package. “Many people just aren’t getting the care they deserve and with the average case management and admin fees across the country hitting 45% of the value of a person's Home Care Package, I'm on a mission to make sure consumers have a choice,” said Karen. For those considering a career change, Karen believes aged care offers a whole new range of opportunities at all levels from domestic assistance, nursing, allied health, transport right through to management levels. “I'm happy with my career change as it gives me the opportunity to ensure our elders are well, safe and supported to remain active in their own homes,” said Karen. “We will all be elders one day so having appropriate flexible, transparent services available in local communities will benefit everyone.” -ends- Breakthrough Study on Not-for-Profit Workforce launched to reveal insights and opportunities for NFP organisations and workers 2017-07-17T21:05:32Z breakthrough-study-on-not-for-profit-workforce-launched-to-reveal-insights-and-opportunities-for-nfp-organisations-and-workers The Australian Not-for-Profit Workforce Study, the largest on and for NFP organisations, employees and volunteers, was launched today. It supports the sector and helps our communities by informing: > NFP Practice: for enhanced leadership, capabilities and impact of NFP organisations, > NFP Policy: for increased efficiency and sustainability of the NFP sector, and > NFP Funding: for better investments in and conversion of NFP capacity building. The national study is using state-of-the-art cloud technology to provide free, science-driven workforce analytics to all participating organisations and respondents, something never seen before in the sector. “The Workforce Study addresses staff development, well-being, engagement, and productivity. It also charts the needs for developing critical knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed in the NFP sector.” said study leader Dr Ramon Wenzel, from the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia. With 1 million staff employed in the NFP sector and an additional 5 million volunteers across Australia, their health, engagement, and continuous learning are key for NFP organisations to survive and thrive. Paul Murnane, Executive Chair of the Australian Scholarships Foundation, said that “NFP organisations spent more than half of their expenses on staff, meaning employees and volunteers are simply irreplaceable. Investing in the sector’s people is the single biggest opportunity for greater impact“. NFP organisations are under increasing pressure to deliver more, innovate, adapt and compete. The new study follows on from the pioneering research on the Social Return on Education Training that has shown that NFP organisations that focus on and develop their staff, do better. Now it is about the How to do it. “Every day, all Australians benefit from the essential work of the NFP sector, but there is a distinct lack of attention and resources directed to these employees and volunteers. The study will bring more scientific rigour and practical evidence to the management of NFP organisations and people.” said Dr Wenzel. All findings will be freely shared with the sector. No invitation is needed. Go to Participating NFP organisations will receive their own free Workforce Analytics Dashboard: at-a-glance reporting to understand staff learning, engagement, well-being, and more than 30 key metrics that matter for people, performance, and purpose. NFP organisations can invite all their employees and volunteers to get immediate insights and compare their relative position to NFP sector benchmarks. Participating NFP employees and volunteers will obtain a free Personal Analytics Report with insights and suggestions on their job satisfaction, work autonomy, professional development, well-being, and more. Wenzel said “Measurement is key to inform practice, policy, and funding so that NFP work can translate to bigger impact. We built the infrastructure and dramatically lowered the cost, the analytics are free.“ Dr Ramon Wenzel, Study Lead, Univ. Western Australia,, +61 421 165 801 Paul Murnane, Australian Scholarships Foundation,, +61 414 447 488 The national study is realised by Learning for Purpose, an initiative by the Centre for Social Impact, The University of Western Australia, and supported by the Australian Research Council, EY, Australian Scholarships Foundation, and Australian Executor Trustees. To learn more, complete the survey, and invite staff, go to To understand and see the Workforce Analytics, go to Explainer Video (2min) Inquiries | (08) 6488 5353 Media Kit: Illustrations, Photo, Bio, Logos, Content Learning for Purpose | An initiative by the Centre for Social Impact, The University of Western Australia Learning for Purpose is an independent, non-partisan, national initiative to research and realise capability development in the Australian Not-for-Profit Sector. We seek to systematically understand and improve the means through which individuals and organisations gain and sustain the knowledge, skills, and abilities for a better world. The initiative is led by the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia Business School in collaboration with the Not-for-Profit sector, social enterprises, universities, government partners, industry and philanthropists. We have a vision for a thriving Not-for-Profit sector that attracts, develops, retains and motivates the best talent to achieve great things. Twitter @LearnForPurpose Facebook LearningForPurpose LinkedIn learning-for-purpose Youtube channel/UCcQyNB2_SLszKitZEM8Z1qQ Partners of the Australian Not-for-Profit Workforce Study The Australian Not-for-Profit Workforce Study is realised by Learning for Purpose, an initiative by the Centre for Social Impact, The University of Western Australia, in collaboration with researchers at the University of New South Wales and Swinburne University; and through the support of the Australian Research Council, EY, Australian Scholarships Foundation, and Australian Executor Trustees. This is not a commercial survey; all data is confidential, used for research only, and will not be shared or sold. UWA Human Research Ethics Approval (RA/4/1/8885). When is a package for Community Aged Care not a package? 2017-07-11T05:29:32Z when-is-a-package-for-community-aged-care-not-a-package Over the last 6 months, I have been travelling around Queensland speaking to older people about aged care services, and how to access My Aged Care to organise these services. What I am consistently surprised by is the confusion that exists across the board in this group, especially when it comes to the question of “packages”. On February 27 this year, one of the most significant changes to the way in which community aged care is provided in this country was finally enacted. On that date, consumers who were lucky enough to be in possession of a home care package were finally in charge of these packages, able to choose their service provider and able to dictate how the subsidy is spent. Much has been written about the unethical practices of some providers since this time, with exorbitant exit fees, scare mongering about what will happen if a person chooses to leave a provider, and a lack of transparency about the financial status of a person’s package just some of the issues brought to light. The Government had consistently indicated its intention to move to a single community aged care system in this country, with the first step of these reforms implemented with the creation of the My Aged Care single entry point into the system in 2015, along with the creation of the Regional Assessment Services to be the gatekeepers into the Commonwealth Home Support Program (formerly the Home and Community Care/ HACC program). The Government also announced that as of 1 July 2018, this program would be amalgamated with the Home Care Package program to create a single, unified aged care system. At the time, consumer groups got a little bit excited. Finally, there was to be a sensible and single approach to community aged care. The confusion that had pervaded the system since Home Care Packages were introduced to rival the HACC program in the 1990s might finally be over. Some providers (mostly those from the private sector) also got excited. Maybe the proposed changes would finally allow market forces to deal with the duplication and confusion that consumers were feeling? Maybe consumers might finally be able to get the services they wanted, from a service provider that was focused on them as a customer and not on preserving the status quo of inefficiency, significant overheads and large salaries. Well, the 27th of February has come and gone, accompanied by the afore mentioned dodgy behaviours and more than a little scare mongering. These changes (well publicised) have also resulted in more than a little bit of confusion for consumers who have little to no idea where the funding for their services comes from. In the months leading up to the February date, I spoke to dozens of consumer forums and hundreds of older people. When asked if they had a package, the majority answered in the affirmative. Conversations have then gone something like this……. “Of course I have a package”, they said. “And please, can you be my provider?” “I really like what you stand for.” “I really like that you wont charge me travel.” “I really like that you will visit me when I want to be visited.” “I also love that you will try really hard to send the same carer every time I need a visit.” Further investigation revealed that all those people who thought they had a package, and who were desperate to get away from their current provider were actually receiving services through the Commonwealth Home Support Program. Our response then had to be … “Sorry, we can’t help you with those services. Those services are tied to the organisation that receives block funding for those services. We can, however, try to have them broker those services to us”. “Would you, they asked?” “Sure,” we said………. “No” became a mantra through which CHSP funded providers dealt with requests to change providers. We tried, clients tried, their families tried. The answer was still “No”. Some people we came across had been accepted for services by a provider but had been waiting for up to three months to get a service. Phone calls to the provider were either not returned or met with what can only be described as “stone walling”. Still, July 2018 was nearly here, wasn’t it? Only another 15 months or so until consumers had total control over their care. Then came the May Federal Budget, and another announcement about aged care. The CHSP program is now to be extended until 2020. The Regional Assessment Services will also be funded until then, with the previously announced merge with the Aged Care assessment teams (ACATs) apparently off the agenda for now. What the??? Current service providers will have their contracts extended from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2020. Apparently, the Government wants to introduce increased choice to people receiving care under this program. Exactly what this means is anyone’s guess. A greater focus is also to be placed on wellness and enablement. What this means is also anyone’s guess, although a review is apparently planned. Talk to most people over 65 who are eligible for services and they will tell you that all they want is to get the services they need. They want consistency in approach to their needs, with choice about who visits them, and what they do when they are there. According to these people, wellness for them will be achieved if they are able to receive assistance to do the things they can’t do so that they can live their lives the way they want. The decision to delay the reforms until 2020 puts at risk the whole agenda related to consumer directed care. Two years is a long time in Government policy. Joanne RahnDirectorzanthii communicationsPhone: 0402 148 334Email: joanne@zanthii.comFacebook: Retirement and aged care providers – how to choose wisely 2017-06-28T02:20:31Z retirement-and-aged-care-providers-how-to-choose-wisely “Choosing to move into a retirement village or aged accommodation with greater support can be challenging,” Mr Roseby says. “Not only is it usually a time of significant emotional change, the financial complexity can be overwhelming.” Mr Roseby, who founded to help Australian’s explore and assess aged care options, says making the wrong decision can have long term financial and emotional impacts. “We need to think of planning for your later years like planning for education,” Mr Roseby says. “You wouldn’t just turn up to the closest school when your child turns five – you research the options and make informed choices where you can.” He says it’s important to start early, before a living situation turns critical. “Decisions are often made hastily when a crisis emerges,” Mr Roseby says. “But the more time you have to work through the options, the better chance you have of making the right choice. Advance planning with a clear head, and ensuring you have the paperwork checked by the appropriate professionals, are the best safeguards.” He says there is a great variety in the market between providers and fees can differ dramatically. “The cost of purchasing a retirement unit, may impact the affordability of future home care services and residential aged care should you need it. Costs can vary significantly, and may be influenced by location, facilities, quality and other fees,” Mr Roseby says. “Once you’ve moved in, ongoing costs also range significantly, and have the potential to dwindle your life savings away.” He said understanding the complex fees you may face through the journey of retirement and potentially home care into residential care is critical to financial security. “Refundable accommodation deposits (RAD), exit fees, and ongoing fees and charges, are particularly complex. Fees may also increase over time. “You may be required to pay up-front, or soon after you move in, or they may be spread over a number of years. There are numerous options available for those who do their research,” he says. Information is key, with sites such as helping to explain and assess options. Mr Roseby offered these tips for avoiding some of the pitfalls of retirement living and aged care: ·       Look around and inspect a number of facilities, take your family or friends along and ask lots of questions. ·       Make sure you understand and can afford the long-term financial impacts of fees and charges. ·       Consider all your options, not only for your needs today, but the level of support you are likely to need in the coming years. ·       If you don’t understand the contract, don’t sign it and find a trusted adviser to guide you. ·       Make sure you get any promises or other commitments in writing. ·       Seek out information from trusted sources such as or engage professional help such as an independent financial adviser or aged care placement consultant.   Nominate a deserving AusMumpreneur and show your support for Australian mums in business 2017-06-22T02:00:12Z nominate-a-deserving-ausmumpreneur-and-show-your-support-for-australian-mums-in-business The AusMumpreneur Conference and AusMumpreneur Awards are all about supporting Australian mums in business. This event provides a unique opportunity for women from all over Australia to come together to gain new skills, promote their business, connect with fellow mums in business, learn from leading business experts and celebrate the success of the best and brightest in the industry. Proudly presented by AusMumpreneur and The Women’s Business School, the AusMumpreneur Awards recognise the best and brightest in the Australian mumpreneur industry. The categories that will be judged are: AusMumpreneur of the Year Rising Star AusMumpreneur of the Year Emerging AusMumpreneur of the Year Regional Business Award Product Innovation Award Digital Innovation Award Sustainability Award Business Excellence Award AusMumpreneur Network Excellence Award Women’s Business School Excellence Award Global Brand Award Big Idea Award Making A Difference Award Retail Business Award Service Business Award Handmade Business Award The People's Choice Awards: Influencer Award Customer Service Award Making a Difference Award (Business) Making a Difference Award (Non-profit) Business owners or those who wish to nominate a mumpreneur, can go to: Nominations close on Friday the 30th of June 2017. Media Contact: Candice Meisels 0481 369 484 Envigor Home Care supports Ipswich WWII survivor 2017-06-12T02:13:12Z envigor-home-care-supports-ipswich-wwii-survivor Doreen Rice, 82, hasn’t had an easy ride in life. At age five, she and her brother and sister were evacuated from their Chatham Kent, United Kingdom residence during WWII in order to keep them safe from the war. She speaks of making the trip to the train station with a gas mask over her shoulder, and a teddy bear in her hand. Four years of her life were then spent apart from her parents and siblings, only receiving bi-yearly visits from her mother, due to the difficulty and costs involved. Now a resident of Ipswich, Doreen recently made the change to Envigor Home Care in February 2017, after becoming restless with her previous provider. The change was made easy for her, thanks to the help of Envigor's Ipswich East Community Care Business Partner, Linda Marsden. During Doreen's initial consultation with Linda concerning the switch to Envigor, Doreen spoke highly of Linda’s questions about her lifestyle requirements and support needs. “Linda asked what I wanted and needed, she listened,” said Doreen. Happy with the level of personalised care, Doreen now feels like she’s in control of all the arrangements concerning her welfare. She feels comfortable giving directions to the caregivers who visit her home, and in turn has things done exactly the way she wants them. “The staff members are very polite and accommodating,” said Doreen. “Linda is so helpful, and such a cheerful lady. This experience has been a blessing, she’s so obliging and always has a smile on her face.” When asked about the difference between Envigor and her previous provider, Doreen commented on the level of common sense possessed by her current caregivers. “They clean what I need cleaned, when I need it cleaned. They’ve helped take down my lace curtains so I could wash them, then put them back up for me. Doreen was accepted in to nursing college at the age of 17, spending five years living at the college's on-site accommodation, adhering to the strict rules expected of students. In 1956, when Doreen was 22, she married her beloved husband, Norman Rice. Norman was a solider in the Royal Engineers, British Army. Doreen and Norman gave birth to a daughter and son, and moved to Australia in 1971 to continue their journey. Doreen’s husband sadly passed away in 2013, and life has been difficult without her life partner by her side. Currently Doreen is writing her memoirs and spends her time researching her family history, making cards, and following her passion of art. “I keep busy and I very much appreciate the support I receive from Envigor,” said Doreen. - ends -Joanne Rahn Director zanthii communications Phone: 0402 148 334 Email: Facebook: Buyer beware...the hidden (and not so hidden) traps of community aged care 2017-06-12T01:11:59Z buyer-beware-the-hidden-and-not-so-hidden-traps-of-community-aged-care The 27th of February 2017 saw the implementation of probably what is the most significant change to hit the community aged care sector since the Home and Community Care Act was first introduced in 1986.Back in 1986, the majority of community aged care was offered by service providers auspiced by frequently church based, not-for-profit organisations - many of which had been providing such services to their communities for a long time using funds obtained from charitable donations.The changes of 27th of February have been a long time coming, with many of the policies associated with these reforms first mooted as far back as 10 years ago.So why the fuss?In a nutshell, for the first time in the history of community aged care service provision, service providers are required to display a high level of transparency and accountability to consumers for the funds they spend on behalf of the consumer for the provision of home and community based care services.What used to be block funding provided directly to organisations is now notionally allocated to the consumer for use as the consumer sees fit, and to meet that person’s care needs.To almost add insult to injury for those providers who would prefer that nothing changed (privately, if not publicly), the consumer is no longer tied to a provider and beholden to that provider for their care services.In a move that has rocked the sector in terms of individual providers coming to terms with the implications of the changes, Home Care Packages now belong to the individual consumer, and can be moved as the consumer moves.Unspent client contributions must now be returned to that person (or their estate) when they exit a package. Historically, providers were entitled to keep these funds to expend as they saw fit, and not always on care either.There have been a number of media articles in recent weeks where the revised service arrangements for consumers have been criticised for being too complicated. These criticisms have been accompanied by reports claiming that some providers are charging anything up to $4000 in exit fees, and using bullying tactics to force people to continue to use them as their service provider. These articles are partly true, but quite significantly are lacking in the detail that consumers need in order to make an informed decision about their care.First of all, there has been commentary about the fees and charges associated with the administration of a home care package. Some of this commentary is accurate, with many providers charging in excess of 35% to a person’s package for services that do not include direct contact with the consumer, and can be considered an overhead cost for the provider. Many providers also charge other fees to consumers such as travel or trip fees, “service support” fees and fees to complete administrative tasks such as making phone calls and liaise with other providers, GPs etc.Secondly, there has been commentary about the charging of exit fees by providers should a consumer wish to transfer to another provider. Consumers should understand that this “exit fee” is only payable from the balance of the package held in trust for the consumer by the provider to cover what are called “contingencies” in regard to that person’s care needs.If the exit fee set by the organisation is higher than the amount of funding held in the package for contingencies, then the provider is entitled to receive these funds from the contingency fund. If insufficient funding is available in the package for payment of exit fees then the provider is only entitled to take that part of the balance that will cover the fees.Finally, there are the reports of bullying tactics being used by providers in an effort to stop people taking their package elsewhere. My advice to these providers is to stop these behaviours now. I heard this week of a person who was told by their carer that if they took their home care package to another provider, then their care staff will lose their jobs. This is not acceptable behaviour by a sector that purports to have the needs of older people front and centre in its thinking always.Similarly, stories abound at present of providers who agree to a person receiving services from them but the person concerned then has to wait some months to receive a service. This is not OK at any level.Consumers deserve the right to make decisions about their care to the capacity they are able; interference by others is likely to confuse the issue further.My advice to consumers is to do your homework and shop around. When you meet with a potential provider, take along your statements from your current provider, and as with any market driven service, ask the new provider to provide you with a quote for their services. You wouldn’t buy a washing machine, a car or a fridge without doing your homework; why would we assume that choosing a care provider shouldn’t be done with the same degree of caution.The more consumers become appropriately and accurately informed by what is possible from their care package, the stronger the community aged care service system will become. Informed consumers exist in all other aspects of life; it is time for this knowledge, and capacity to choose to infiltrate community care.Finally, if consumers are not happy with their current provider, then moving their Home Care Package to another provider is quite easy. Even in areas where workforce is a challenge, organisations that support their staff, pay them well and act as role models for the staff will flourish and prosper in a Consumer Directed Care service environment.Consumers should ask these questions of their provider and assure themselves that the care budget developed by the organisation is being used as was intended, and that relevant staff can be available to respond to questions in a timely manner.If the person still wants to move their package then the new provider should just complete some paperwork and as a provider, the process of registering someone on the system is quite easy.I know that much of the content for this article is a repeat of what has been previously made available to consumers and their families. However, the financial situation in which an older person finds themselves in regard to their Home Care Package is such that accountability and transparency by the provider with the funds in a package is essential in a market driven service sector.Similarly, if a provider does not provide a consumer with a budget for their care plan that describes in detail all the expected income and expenditure and/or if the consumer is not provided with a monthly statement, and if line items on the statement contain service types that are unclear, then that consumer should first discuss their concerns with the provider.If the provider does not address the concerns of the consumer, then it is likely that they are not as serious about Consumer Directed Care as they pretend to be, and the consumer should be looking for another provider.-ends-________________________________________________________________Tracey Silvester is an expert in the area of home care and Consumer Directed Care in Australia, with more than 25 years experience in senior positions in Queensland Health as a consultant to the community and aged care sectors, not-for-profit organisations and private aged care. She is a Registered Nurse, and holds a Bachelor of Science, and a Master of Health Management. Tracey is also an Associate Fellow of the Australian College of Health Services Management.Here is a link to Tracey's six-minute interview with ABC24 during the live national news bulletin on the 27th of February, 2017 discussing Consumer Directed Care (the day changes to CDC were introduced): RahnDirectorzanthii communicationsPhone: 0402 148 334Email: joanne@zanthii.comFacebook: 100 Year Old Iris is Australia's Latest Celebrity Love Guru! 2017-06-01T06:53:26Z 100-year-old-iris-is-australia-s-latest-celebrity-love-guru 100 year old Iris is Brisbane's newest celebrity after her star turn on radio station B105 this week. Iris, a resident at Seasons Aged Care Waterford West, has been dubbed “Brisbane's love guru” after offering relationship advice to the younger generation during B105's morning show with Stav, Abby and Matt, inviting listeners to “ask her anything.” Iris’s granddaughter was talking to the radio show when she mentioned her grandmother’s recent 100 year birthday, and her birthday present request: a stripper! “I just fancied a nice, young man parading in front of me,” said Iris. It was at that moment, the B105 morning crew knew they had found a superstar in Iris. Her pearls of wisdom and relationship advice proved to be very valuable, with listeners agreeing to implement her recommendations. Jacintha called to ask how she could convince her partner to do more housework and Iris simply replied, “Well, I don’t think you can.” She continued by saying, “If he loves you enough, he should realise you need help and he will help you… And if he doesn’t, then you won’t be very happy.” When asked by listener Nikki where she could find potential suitors, Iris admitted things had changed since she was young. Iris told the listener she spent her youthful nights at dance halls where she had the opportunity to meet “nice, young men”. She compared this with how young people today find love. “I know that you can go on computers now, and find someone. I never had to do that,” Iris replied to the listener. Iris advised Nikki that she should go out dancing, and get to know some new people. Given that she just celebrated her 100th birthday, Iris grew up during the war. She offered some insight in to what that was like for her, and how this affected her love life. “When there is a war on, anything can happen. You don’t know if you’re going to be here the next day so you have to take any opportunity,” she laughed. Iris shed light on another issue that listener, Ellie was struggling with; if it were inappropriate to contact a man she hadn’t heard from in a few days. Iris said the relationship didn’t sound very promising, but if she really liked him, it would be a good idea to call and make some judgement from there. The Seasons Aged Care Waterford West resident is thrilled to share her years of love and life experience with callers from across Brisbane, and beyond! Iris has been invited to join the B105 morning crew on-air for a regular weekly segment so if you have any tentative relationship queries, be sure to make them heard. In Iris’s words, “I’m ready for anything.”You can watch Iris' hilarious interview with Kylie & Ryan on Channel 7's The Morning Show here: -ENDS- Joanne Rahn Director zanthii communications Phone: 0402 148 334 Email: Facebook: Wavelength International listed in the Best SMEs to Work Asia 2017 2017-05-30T05:21:58Z wavelength-international-listed-in-the-best-smes-to-work-asia-2017 Wavelength International has made the prestigious Best Places to Work Asia 2017, one of only 3 Australian businesses to make the top 10 of the small and medium workplaces list. The Best Places to Work Australia Study is one of the world’s most comprehensive independent studies of workplace culture by global research and consulting firm Great Place to Work – More than 1,400 companies participated in national list studies in the 9 Asia-region countries where Great Place to Work® is represented. Wavelength shot into the top 10 this year, placing 9th in the top 25 Best Places to Work (20-500) employees. It is an impressive achievement, especially in an industry renowned for its high pressure work environments and high staff turnover. “It just goes to show you can be a successful high performance business by embracing a generous and supportive culture,” says Chris Riley, Wavelength’s CEO. “Just by walking through the door, you immediately sense Wavelength is a happy, motivated and engaged place to work. In my experience in this industry our workplace culture is quite unique: everyone cares passionately about the business and working collaboratively as a team." With over 75 employees, Wavelength is Australia’s largest and most successful medical recruitment agency. The company offers a range of employee benefits including: Flexible and family friendly working hours, Free breakfast Fitness classes A creative, casual and fun working environment i Monetary incentives linked with productivity and performance against key goals. Additional information Specific highlights that have made Wavelength a great place to work include: · A generous remuneration and commission scheme renowned for being extremely market competitive. Wavelength is also committed to making salary packages consistent and fair across the organisation. Employees in all roles are recognised and rewarded for outstanding performance. Individual goals created for all employees quarterly which are part of their performance criteria. Managers regularly meet with team members to provide feedback and coach them to be even better in their role. An internal mentoring program which enable employees to discover and develop their talents. · A real commitment to work life balance with a broad range of flexible full-time, part-time and job share work patterns in place. Employees can work flexibly between 7am and 7pm and have the opportunity to work from home one day a week. Wavelength also offers an additional five days of annual leave once an employee has completed four years’ continuous employment. A generous paid parental leave program and flexibility when it comes to extended leave for weddings and overseas trips. · Inspiring values of excellence, ingenuity, integrity and heart incorporated into all business processes, policies and communications. · A bright, fresh, modern and open workspace to encourage a positive working environment and work life balance. There are showers, great training facilities and plenty of room for regular health and fitness sessions. Breakfast, drinks and healthy snacks are all provided daily for all employees. · A love for celebrations – birthdays, anniversaries, individual and company achievements. · An internal social networking platform to foster a modern culture of openness and transparency. · Quarterly employee briefings to share information, business goals, successes, challenges and new initiatives. A commitment to the health sector both in Australia and overseas. Wavelength actively donates and fundraises for the Fred Hollows Foundation and Médecins Sans Frontières. The company also sponsors indigenous medical students and encourages employees to participate in other charitable events throughout the year. ### About Wavelength International Wavelength International
is Australia’s largest medical recruitment company, offering local and international candidate resourcing, medical registration and immigration services for medical professionals and healthcare employers. Based in Sydney, we work with over 300 hospitals, clinics and general practices across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. About Great Place to Work Inc Great Place to Work Inc, is a global research and consulting firm specialising in workplace excellence and development of high-trust and high-engagement workplace cultures. Our proprietary research tool, the Trust Index Employee Engagement Survey, is taken annually by over 10 million employees worldwide. Leading companies worldwide use our model to increase the levels of trust across their organisations and drive business results. For further information, please contact: Deanna Daly Marketing Executive, Wavelength International Tel: 02 8353 9032 Email: STAR Community Services Secures Growth Funding for Expansion of Aged Care Services 2017-04-13T05:31:45Z star-community-services-secures-growth-funding-for-expansion-of-aged-care-services-1 Brisbane (23 March 2017). The communities of Redlands, Logan River Valley, Brisbane South and South Coast areas are set to benefit from the recent growth funding secured by STAR Community Services under the Commonwealth Home Support Program.   The Growth Funding has been allocated to STAR for provision of Transport and Home Maintenance services in Brisbane South, Logan River Valley and South Coast areas, and provision of Domestic Assistance in Logan River Valley, to those aged 65 and over.   STAR Community Services is a community organisation operating in Redlands with more than 20 years of experience in aged care services including transport, Home Care Packages, In Home Care, Social Support services and other wellbeing services.   “What makes us unique is that a vast majority of our team are volunteers,” said Mr Rob Spencer, Chairman of STAR. “We are truly a community organisation - run by the community; to serve the community.”   The recent Aged Care Reforms have been designed to give Australians more choice, more control and easier access to a full range of aged care services.   “It is a time of great change and opportunity,” added Mr Spencer. “ Our team has done an outstanding job of putting an action plan together and making sure we provide the best service and experience.”   STAR serves more than 6000 community members, with the ongoing support of over 120 STAR volunteers. STAR’s Transport volunteer drivers assist with around 70,000 trips each year to help seniors and those with disabilities; visit their family and friends, do their shopping, go to medical appointments, and overall enjoy an independent life.   “Our strength lies in community based networks. We are keen to build relationships with other local community organisations and local councils, and leverage from our common synergies,” said Ms Patsy Wilshire, General Manager of STAR.   STAR’s expansion will also result in creation of new job roles in the allocated regions, mainly for Call Centre, Schedulers, Drivers and Administrators. “We will invest significant time and resources in training and developing skills to ensure that the local communities reap the benefits,” added Ms Wilshire.   “The changes brought about by the recent Aged Care Reforms are complex and multi-dimensional, but we are ready. The growth funding will allow us to increase our capacity, and enable us to fill existing gaps in home support services across the allocated regions,” Ms Wilshire added. MAJOR GOVERNMENT CHANGES TO HOME CARE 2017-02-13T23:45:29Z major-government-changes-to-home-care Senior’s Week is just around the corner, running from March 3 – 12 this year. Before the festivities kick off, however, you might be thinking about the major changes about to hit our National Home Care system. On February 27, the Australian Government is changing the way home care services are delivered to older Australians. You might be a person directly affected, or you might have a loved one who will need to learn about the updates and what they mean for them.   Ours is an ageing population, therefore these changes are being put in place to establish a sustainable and high quality aged care system that is more consumer driven, market based and less regulated.   In the current system, home care places are allocated to Approved Providers of home care through the Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR), a resource-intensive and highly competitive process with many unsuccessful applicants each year. Come February 27, funding for a home care package will follow the consumer, allowing them to direct funding to the provider of their choice. These changes are very exciting for the consumer.   Currently, home care packages are not “portable” as the places are allocated to an approved provider and unspent funds are retained by that provider if the consumer leaves their care. From Feb 27 however, home care packages will be portable for consumers, allowing them to change providers if they wish, a new found freedom for those who receive care. If they choose to change providers, any unspent funds (less exit amount) within their package will follow them to the new home care provider.   Kim Ryall-Manley, Home Care Manager of UPA North Coast, an established home care, aged care and youth care non-profit company – said “Our vision is, and has been very clear since we were established in 1938. We hope that everyone is able to live with dignity and independence and should be able to select appropriate and affordable support and care as and when they need it. Quality of life, and supporting people to live the way they want is our goal.”   With the new home care changes, it seems this vision is becoming a reality.   “Our vision really does tie in with the new changes, and we’re happy that consumers will soon be able to choose home care services that suit their individual needs,” Said Ms Ryall-Manley.   “The choice affects not only the person using the service, but their families, and we believe the new freedom of choice will give peace of mind to the loved ones who trust us to provide the best care possible.”   What else is changing?   A consistent national system for prioritising access to home care will be established through a national prioritisation system managed by My Aged Care. Post Feb 27, this national queue will be in place. The way consumers are then prioritised will take account of their relative needs and circumstances and the time they have been waiting for care.   The process for becoming an approved provider will undergo some changes too. Approved providers of residential care and flexible care will be able to ‘opt-in’ to providing home care rather than going through a full application process.   Once approved provider status has been granted it will no longer lapse, whether the approval is for home care, residential care or flexible care – however, approved providers must continue to meet relevant quality and accreditation standards.   Ms Ryall-Manley of UPA commented, “When looking for a home care service provider, people should take provider experience into account given these new changes. For example, we are an award-winning provider with a proven track record in meeting the quality standards and accreditation., and so we’re preparing and looking forward to helping a lot of new faces with their care packages when the changes come in.”   Amidst all the changes, there are a few things that will remain the same. Existing home care consumers will continue to receive services at their current package level, there will be no changes to current fee and income testing arrangements, claims and payments will still be made through the Department of Human Services Aged Care Payment System.   Home care subsidy and supplements will continue to be paid to approved providers, not directly to consumers. Packages will continue to be delivered on a consumer directed care basis, and the total number of home care packages across the country will still be capped.   What you need to do next…   If you are currently receiving a home care package, you do not need to do anything. You will continue to receive care and services at your existing package level. More information about the changes and what they mean for you will be provided closer to 27 February.   If you have been assessed as eligible to receive a home care package, the path you follow will depend on whether you have found a provider who can offer you a suitable package and are able to enter into a Home Care Agreement by 27 February. If you find a suitable provider before 27 February, you can enter into a home care agreement with them. If you have not entered into a home care agreement before 27 February, you will be contacted by My Aged Care when a package at a suitable level becomes available. You will receive more information about the changes and what they mean for you closer to the date. If you are not sure of your eligibility, or would like more information on the changes and how to choose your provider, the next step for you or your loved one is to go to the My Aged Care portal. To do this, you should visit or call 1800 200 422.   “You need to choose wisely and know your options,” said Ryall-Manley. “Our advice at UPA would be to find out about the core values held in the company. It’s such an important choice for you or your loved one, and your care and wellbeing should be the priorities.”   If you would like to contact the experienced team at UPA North Coast with any questions, you can phone them on 02 6628 5559, or visit their website at   ENDS   ABOUT UPA   The United Protestant Association of NSW Limited (UPA) is a Christian care organisation, established with the commitment to care for disadvantaged children and the provision of care and accommodation for the elderly.  The Association's work commenced at Grafton in 1938 by the late Thomas Agst, BEM, JP, when he took several small children into care.  From this small beginning, the Association was to gain impetus which has since seen expanded services to both young and old with over 45 centres throughout New South Wales.  From its inception, UPA has touched the lives of thousands of people by providing care of the highest quality in the context of Christian love and compassion.  UPA is a non-profit Company limited by guarantee.   Today, our Association is made up of 12 Districts which have a healthy degree of autonomy, yet are bound together under the one mission and company structure. A foundational principle used since the very beginning of our work was that the money raised in the town would stay in the town. Local governance, management and administration are a core strength of UPA’s work. Working co-operatively UPA has built a strong growing association of like-minded people providing a network of the highest standard of care services throughout New South Wales.   We welcome people from all religious and cultural backgrounds. We convey compassion, kindness, respect and honesty in our work. Our staff and volunteers encourage and empower those we care for to choose their own path. Mindful of how we ourselves would like to be treated, we aim to provide a caring atmosphere of Christian love and understanding. When we have failed to live up to our Mission, Values or Philosophy of Care we will seek to make amends.   UPA North Coast   UPA North Coast services areas from Port Macquarie in the South, to the Queensland Border North, and across the Gold Coast. Have you ever seen your Narnee’s knees? 2017-01-05T04:37:28Z have-you-ever-seen-your-narnee-s-knees Narnee’s Knees is a funny, quirky rhyming picture book, written by Gold Coast author Wendy Butler. It is written from the innocent perspective of young children who love their grandmother "Narnee"and are oblivious to her flaws -in particular her knees, which are a little special. Narnee’s Knees captivates the imagination of adults and children alike. Whilst providing enjoyment and entertainment, this fun and colourful story along with the intriguing mixed media illustrations, can’t help but encourage parents and grandparents to become involved and in turn supporting the language and literacy of their young children. Wendy, a ‘kiwi’ with a Welsh and Scottish heritage, is the youngest of four children. Her ‘most fortunate, idyllic and carefree childhood’ was spent outdoors, playing, exploring and camping. These amazing life experiences definitely moulded Wendy’s carefree nature and her love of the beach. Sustaining a vivid imagination since childhood, Wendy has maintained her irresistible love for children’s books. For many years, Wendy has had a ‘phobia’ around her own ‘wrinkly’ knees and on entering a new phase in her life, she has been blessed with grandchildren who call her ‘Narnee’. And so her inspiration for Narnee’s Knees was derived. The vision for Narnee’s Knees was further supported, when Wendy met Jo-Anne, a graphic designer, whom Wendy later found out had had a lifelong interest in children’s books and aspired to illustrating a book herself. They just connected, having similar tastes and ideas, and worked closely together to create the amazingly inviting illustrations. Wendy has worked in various roles in early childhood education throughout her working life. She began as a Preschool Teacher in New Zealand and then moved to Australia, working in similar roles in NSW and QLD. Branching out into TAFE, teaching part time, she then moved into working in Inclusion Support, assisting childcare educators, with the inclusion of children with additional needs into mainstream education environments. Currently she works with City Libraries, Gold Coast in an Early Literacy Program. Wendy is working on promoting her book through venues such as Early Childhood Centres as well as specialist book and children’s stores.