Chief executive officer of Three Tree Lodge Kate Hurrell is passionate about the recruitment and retention of aged care employees in the Central West.
“We have to do something because it’s very difficult to recruit licenced nurses, we have advertised for a director of nursing for over 18 months.
“If we can’t get staff it doesn’t matter how good the buildings are or how many grants we get, it will be difficult to continue to provide aged care services if we can’t attract suitably qualified staff.”
According to Ms Hurrell, there is a huge opportunity in this region and especially Lithgow for more aged care employees as the system is constantly growing.
House leader Wayne Steele joined the company 18 months ago with a certificate three in aged care and is currently studying his certificate four to become an enrolled nurse or registered nurse.
“It’s a new career but it’s the best job I’ve ever done,” Mr Steele said.
Minister for Seniors and Aged Care Ken Wyatt announced this week that $106 million will be pumped into aged care, after a reform bill was passed in the lower house on Tuesday, September 11 as well as a renewed commitment to increase the number of aged care workers across Australia.
Last week Three Tree Lodge had its accreditation completed by the Australian aged care quality agency with positive results.
“The accreditation came through and showed the high level of care that we take with our residents, staff and visitors,” Chair of Three Tree Lodge board, Garry Brown said.
The new extension Melaleuca House has been carefully designed based upon the ‘household model of care’ intended to provide a home-like environment for all of the residents.
“Clinical indicators show that residents displaying distressed behaviour has had a massive reduction since the opening of the home,” Ms Hurrell said.
Ms Hurrell said they found previously residents would be living in a place that looked like hospital, so they would want to go home, but now they can live in a place that was a home.
Items that were previously on show, such as the hand basins and fire extinguishers, are now hidden in cupboards to make the house feel less clinical.
“We needed to make this place more like a home and not a hospital because this is where they live,” Ms Hurrell said.