Excellence in Community Care

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-By Jen Hocken

The mission of Baptcare is to provide ‘excellence in Christian care for individuals, families and the community.’ As an agency of the Baptist Union of Victoria, Baptcare began 1945 when a group of Baptist women raised £4,000 during the war to open the first Baptist home for older people in Australia. Today, Baptcare proactively responds to the needs of people by providing care to the elderly, children, families, people with disabilities, financially disadvantaged people and asylum seekers.

The vision that guides Baptcare’s work is, ‘caring communities for all’, which is clear through the symbols represented in the organisation’s logo. These symbols are unique and the logo reflects Baptcare’s identity. The orange flame represents human vitality. According to Jeff Davey, Baptcare’s Chief Executive, “As the flame of vitality grows stronger, an individual experiences a dynamic transformation from a person in need to a person who is whole and fulfilled. This represents Baptcare’s ultimate goal of empowering people to realise their true potential.” The spark of energy in the logo symbolises nurturing the flame of human vitality in the people who are cared for, and the partnership that is kept with people through their life journey. The green background represents a solid foundation for individual nourishment and growth. The Baptcare tagline, “Bringing care to life,” speaks to the ability to bring care into the life of a person in need, and is also about “bringing life to care,” which is ensuring that the care given by employees is vibrant, passionate and empowering.

These employees operate out of 31 Baptcare locations in Australia, across Victoria and Tasmania, and there are over 1100 employees in total. The diverse experience of staff members includes nursing, social work and pastoral care. Baptcare looks to invest in talented and motivated individuals who are passionate about using their skills and experience to make a positive and lasting difference to their communities. According to Jeff Davey, “Baptcare’s working environment is designed to inspire and motivate its employees to reach their full potential, both professionally and personally.”

What this means is that, as a not-for-profit organisation, Baptcare focuses on remuneration packages that offer training and development and other incentives. In order to attract and retain the best possible employees, Baptcare offers many benefits including both attractive salary packaging incentives and thoughtful workplace perks such as parental leave, flexible work hours, staff development and training, career opportunities and a supportive work environment.

It is out of this positive working environment that Baptcare’s award-winning service provision has developed. Indeed, Baptcare has received a number of awards in the past six years, most recently the 2011 Industry Award for its education programme. This recognition has come about due to the quality of services and, naturally, the employees delivering these services. The employees ultimately define Baptcare’s success as a reputable organisation, and their hard work is acknowledged through a rewards and recognition program that recognises the contributions of the people who go the extra mile. There are also continuous improvement practices that monitor service delivery across the organisation, which helps to ensure Baptcare’s high quality of service.

Even award-winning organisations face their challenges, and that faced by Baptcare is one felt Australia-wide – the ongoing shortage of skilled staff. For Baptcare’s aged care branch in particular, there is a shortage of registered nurses, particularly in rural areas of Victoria. As Australia’s ageing community continues to grow, it becomes even more important for Baptcare to continue to find employees who share the organisation’s vision to support those in need to reach their full potential. The reputation of Baptcare services in the local rural community is essential – the employees in rural areas have a true desire to give back to their community, and this is evident through their work.

Baptcare believes that all individuals have the right to an independent lifestyle, filled with choice and flexibility, while understanding that growing older comes with its unexpected obstacles. One way to support the needs of older people is through Baptcare’s community aged care packages service, which provides specific types of care within the person’s home. Baptcare is the largest provider of community packages in Victoria, with over 1300. These packages are tailored to an individual’s needs and preferences, and the purpose is to allow older people to remain living in their own home for longer and stay connected to their community. These people may or may not have a carer. Maintaining independence and choice as an older person is important for self confidence, and may even help prevent mental health problems. According to Jeff Davey, “Through our case management approach using tertiary qualified staff, Baptcare applies its assessment tools to get to the heart of what makes the people we care for unique.” After understanding the person’s aspirations for their life, the appropriate practices, services and necessary supports are established.

Baptcare provides a range of tailored aged care options, specifically designed to meet the needs of every individual requiring some level of support including: residential aged care, assisted and retirement living, in-home support for individuals at home, respite, social activity groups and access to allied health services such as physiotherapy and diversional therapy. There are three levels of packages: Community Aged Care packages, Extended Aged Care at Home packages and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia packages. The types of support available will vary and may include: nursing assistance, meal preparation, laundry, home help, transportation and more. To be eligible to receive a care package, individuals must be assessed by Aged Care Assessment Service.

Baptcare also invests in research projects which examine ways in which the delivery of care and support can be improved for people in its care, most notably older people. This includes the Predictors Influencing the Change in Health (PITCH) study, a research project that has provided Baptcare with the evidence to validate its assessment practices in community aged care. Assessments go on to include a tool that screens for depression, cognition and carer strain, giving Baptcare a comprehensive and holistic way to identify clients that fall into groups most at risk of needing additional care, and also to assist people in remaining in their home for longer periods.

Baptcare also operates eight aged care facilities across Victoria and Tasmania. For those service users who choose Baptcare’s facilities, the principle “ageing in place” is integrated, which means that the individuals being cared for can typically remain at a Baptcare aged home, even if their needs change or grow more complex. In addition to nursing care, which is available 24 hours a day in all aged care homes, other paramedical services like physiotherapy are provided as needed; they can be arranged if not readily available. Assistance is offered from the most basic supervision, to the full provision of expert intensive care for all aspects of daily living. All of Baptcare’s aged care homes offer social activities, arranged for each resident based on his or her needs and wishes.

One of the most unique aspects of the Baptcare organisation is the value placed on spirituality. Baptcare focuses on caring for the whole person, which includes spiritual support. This is done through the pastoral care program, the purpose of which is to strengthen what keeps people going, to focus on things that have made a difference in their lives. Pastoral carers get to know their clients, learning what is important to them, and providing support. This support may focus on the types of connections people have with themselves, others, the environment, and their spiritual life. The program has received significant positive feedback from participants.

In addition to the spiritual support it offers, Baptcare has a number of different services available, and is always involved in the community – there is bound to be an aspect of the organisation for everyone. Community projects include supported accommodation for asylum seekers, affordable housing, homeless projects, and Baptist churches, information about which is available on the official Baptcare website. Baptcare has even found new and innovative ways to raise money for charities, through its charity golf days which have been conducted for the past four years. These are all great options for community involvement or volunteer work.

Of course, Baptcare is able to offer such a diverse range of services in part due to its strong relationships with its vendors and suppliers. Funding for Baptcare is received through various channels – according to Jeff Davey, in 2010/2011, 76 per cent of Baptcare’s revenue came from Commonwealth and State governments, 18 per cent from client fees and the balance from donations, interest and other sources. Operating expenditures grew by 8.8 per cent to $92.6m during the year. The direct client and resident services costs represent 26.2 per cent, with employee costs representing 52.6 per cent of total operating expenses. The majority of Baptcare’s fundraising income comes from trusts, foundations and corporate supporters, however individual support through appeals and unsolicited donations are also significant. In 2010/2011, $362,495 was raised for Baptcare, and one hundred per cent of these donations was allocated to program delivery.

To ensure that these programs appropriately meet the needs of clients, Baptcare regularly collects resident feedback via surveys, discussions and observations. Maintaining relationships with residents is critical to this process, since it ensures that residents are comfortable speaking with staff. This feedback is then used to enhance services and programs. Baptcare also refurbishes the homes and facilities every few years to meet the ever-changing needs and demands of people.

Ultimately, Baptcare seeks to remain a leader in its industry so that more people can be cared for in a greater number of locations. The organisation’s future is undeniably bright; according to Jeff Davey, “Over the next five years, we will proactively pursue opportunities to be in a stronger market position, increase our appeal as an employer, increase our social advocacy efforts, strengthen our reputation, invest in the best technology and adopt best practice to deliver the most effective services to our residents and clients.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

January 18, 2019, 3:28 AM AEDT