Dear residents, clients, families and friends
Following the Four Corners report and the recent announcement of a Royal Commission I wanted to write to you to reassure you of the seriousness with which Pennwood Village takes the concerns being raised by staff, family and friends.
As the recently commenced General Manager, it is already obvious to me that Pennwood Village is a great organisation with a strong history of providing good care. Staff are passionate about providing quality care with European Flair. It is my experience that Staff turnover and the use of Agency Staff can often contribute to poor staffing levels, misunderstandings and mistrust in the elderly. I think it is great that Pennwood staff speak so many languages and do not use Agency staff. Also there is no doubt that the current low turnover of staff means we can afford to have 20% more staff than the industry standard so we can support CALD older people’s needs.
It is also apparent from the reports providers failed to provide an acceptable standard of care and I know you have all been horrified by some of the things that we have seen in the media. Today we discussed the amount of time staff spend with the resident for undressing, showering and dressing – feedback from staff that it takes approximately 15 minutes for semi-independent resident and up to 30 minutes for a dependent resident including the need for 2 staff assistance. This also includes application of compression garments.
The Four Corners program raised issues concerning the food provided to residents in aged care. Pennwood Village spends 30% more than the national average amount on food for its residents than the figures quoted in the media. However we still need to spend more an on presentation of the food and improving the customer experience. Bogdan our Head Chef will be working with staff on presentation and plating the food to ensure a more pleasurable dining experience. Families can buy and taste our food in our new Kafana.
In addition, concerns were raised about the level of staffing provided in aged care. In a recent bench-marking exercise, Pennwood Village rated as over 20% above the average care staff labour costs in the industry. Last year we spent over $70k on training for our staff to ensure that they are able to provide the very best care.
Four Corners also criticised the amount of incontinence pads provided. Pennwood Village is pleased to say we do not ration continence pads. Based on an assessment of each resident, we provide what that person needs, and our pads have indicators on them that tell us if they need replacing. Additional pads are stored in residents rooms for emergencies. Families often compliment us on how comforting it is see Home like domestic environment which is clean and lacking in odour compared to Hospitals and other facilities.
Pennwood has invested $4.8 million on a new 20 bed extension which includes a 10 bed Memory Support Dementia unit. In relation to supporting people who have dementia, we prefer to provide safe secure environments, with natural light, gardens and room to wander. Physical restraint is not in use at Pennwood and psychotropic drug therapy is a last line of management, and detailed behaviour assessment must support the need for such medication and must detail all alternative measures used before using this medication. We also have introduced Cognitive Stimulation Therapy programs.
We continue to receive reports of high levels of satisfaction with our services and we constantly review complaints and compliments looking for areas of improvement. I encourage you to keep talking to the staff and making suggestions for improvements.
Our utmost priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of those who are using our services. If at any time you feel there is something in any of our services about which you are unhappy, please let the staff know.
As I get settled into the organisation over the next few months, I will be carrying out Customer Service and Staff satisfaction surveys as well as speaking to staff and residents about our services. I hope to meet with many of you and to hear first-hand from you what your experiences at Pennwood Village are like.