Traditional models of residential aged care do not match the needs or preferences of today’s clients. Institutional and clinical in nature, they can result in poor quality of life for residents, as well as limited job satisfaction for staff.
Resident choice and control are now front and centre of aged care service delivery, as are independence and quality of life (“living well”), as opposed to a narrow model which focuses only on clinical care and clinical outcomes.
The new Benetas residential model of care is revolutionising aged care in Victoria, starting with The Views Heidelberg and St Pauls Terrace.
Transforming every aspect of residential care delivery—from staffing to infrastructure and culture—the model draws on Benetas’ organisational values and beliefs, and is designed with the resident at the centre, enabling greater choice and control in residents’ daily lives. The model incorporates everything from the built environment through to the fit-out, rostering, staffing model, and back-of-house services.
The first principle of the model is a home first. The facility is primarily a home rather than a workplace. The built form is more homelike with each facility divided into ‘apartments’ comprising eight ensuite bedrooms radiating off a central living and dining area plus a full function kitchen.
The second principle of the model is people who care. With dedicated rostering of small teams of primary carers and clinicians in each apartment, residents experience greater continuity, supporting the development of deep relationships between staff and residents. When staff know residents well, they are better able to support and care for them. The focus on empathy as a key staff attribute influences recruitment, induction and training.
The final principle of the model is complete integration. This means that all of the services, systems, processes, tools and language are specifically designed to support the model. For example, there are no nurses’ stations or drug trolleys—these belong in a clinical environment, not a home environment.
An innovative communication system, Vocera, provides hands-free, voice activated communication between apartments, and removes the need for an annunciator.
The key outcome for residents is improved quality of life. Although a formal evaluation is still underway, anecdotal reports from residents and staff confirm that residents find the environment more homelike and pleasant, and that they are enjoying a higher level of positive social interaction. Strong, empathetic relationships are evident between residents and regular apartment staff, supporting high quality of care.
One of the residents says she is having a lovely time living at her new accommodation and feels more independent. A family member has commented on how much happier their mother appears, that she now joins other residents for meals and participates in activities, and the continuity of care has created a more intimate experience.
Not just beneficial for residents, there has been a positive impact on staff, with less sick leave, lower levels of staff turnover, less use of agency staff, and faster response times.
Based on the success of The Views Heidelberg and St Pauls Terrace, all Benetas new build and redevelopment opportunities will follow this new model of care.