Home is where KinCare is…

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-By Tracey Hilderley

Imagine what the wait time might be to get yourself or your loved one into the nicest and most reputable nursing home so the next stage of life can be enjoyable and comfortable. Biding time until a spot becomes available in the nursing facility of choice may take up to a year or two, or even more. Now envision the comfort and relief when you find out that leaving the convenience and comforts of home is no longer necessary – that you are able to receive the care and attention required right in your own home. This is the underlying philosophy guiding KinCare, and one which, naturally, makes the company a top choice for those seeking quality care combined with peace of mind.

Margaret Howie originally started the KinCare Group back in 1992 with 16 clients. She began with home services and also handled administration outside of those home visits. As Margaret’s son, Jason Howie, KinCare’s CEO, explained, “People generally prefer to stay in their own home with what they are familiar with and have been comfortable in for many decades, and the services we provide give our clients the ability to remain there for a lot longer. It doesn’t necessarily rule out the need for nursing home care, but we can usually manage clients right through, until the end, in their homes.” The KinCare model of care is not only empowering for clients, but is ultimately less taxing on government funding compared with residential aged care.

Jason shares, “We acquired Stanhope [in existence since the 1970s] and Private Care in July of last year.” Private Care offers an amazing array of services that anyone can qualify for as they are able to pay themselves. It is not government funded. KinCare and Stanhope, conversely, are both funded by the government and provide a range of in home and nursing care services to those eligible. Yet another service under the umbrella of KinCare is National College Australia, “a registered training organisation providing courses and services which are relevant in community care as well as general business related courses, such as front line management, which are beneficial to the industry.” TeleResponse is another segment of KinCare’s Services that utilise nurses to assist organisations in covering their services outside of business hours. “It is usually to deal with emergency cases… an example might be where you have a husband whose health has deteriorated and he is solely dependent on his wife. If she falls, someone needs to look after her husband in this circumstance while she gets appropriate care. Someone will take the call and triage it according to applicable requirements.”

This is just one example of Respite Care, an important service offered by theKinCare Group. Jason explained the differences between Respite Care and Dementia Care, also provided by KinCare. “Respite care is care that is provided to a caregiver of someone who is aged or disabled. It allows them to take a break – so someone could run errands for the client or caregiver and allow them assistance with those day to day tasks. Respite care can also provide social support and social contact for people who otherwise could not keep in contact or may have lost touch with friends and loved ones.” Jason continued, “We also provide informal transport services to appointments, domestic services, personal care and hygiene services such as showering, grooming… Under the care spectrum you’ve got hospital in the home services and rehabilitation in the home services.” Dementia Care in the aged care market has no age restrictions as there is special government funding available and a range of services provided.

Jason reflects that, “There are some very significant changes going on in the external environment at the moment which every organisation is struggling to come to terms with. Workforce skill shortages are a very well documented issue across the industry and there is a question of whether there is going to be enough staff, as we are already experiencing that in some markets around the country.

“There are some big changes underway at the moment in both the disability and aged care sector,” he continues. “The Productivity Commission report that was released last year into the aged care sector is proposing some quite significant changes consistent with a lot of public policy documents over the last ten years. There seems to be more momentum building up behind this report than what we have seen previously and there hasn’t been a government response as of yet, but that will fundamentally change the way we design our organisation once this has been addressed. At the moment, the government picks the winners and losers in the industry.” The KinCare model, however, represents a truly unique and valuable service offering. As Jason says, “Delivering services into people’s homes can provide an answer to a lot of problems.”

Strong relationships with suppliers and other partners in the industry certainly help KinCare to deliver these services effectively. “For the most part,” Jason says, “we like to build long term relationships with our suppliers and having ongoing good business relationship is our greatest concern when choosing suppliers. Generally any suppliers we’ve had have been with us for quite some time.”

The company has also incorporated Herzberg’s theory of workplace satisfaction to “assist in employee retention and morale.” The Two-Factor Theory, also known as Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory and Dual-Factor Theory, distinguishes between two different sets of factors in the workplace: those factors intrinsic to the work itself, including challenging work, recognition and responsibility, and which can engender job satisfaction; and those factors not related to the work itself yet built into the workplace culture, including company policies, supervisory practices, and salary, which do not necessarily create job satisfaction yet whose absence, understandably, can lead to job dissatisfaction. Jason emphasises the success of this approach, saying, “Attracting people to this type of employment is often not the challenge… people enjoy the flexibility of their roles and the relationships they build with their clients.

“So many things we consider important,” he says, “are very difficult to measure; at the end of the day what we are about is delivering the best possible service to clients and of course to staff. We are pleased with the progress we have made with our satisfaction ratings and of course proud of our financial results as they have provided a secure base for employees and clients.” Buy-in from the broader community is also important for carrying out this line of work; as Jason says, “You don’t grow quickly – and particularly, organically – unless the market is happy with the service you are providing.”

What the community is responding to are the many principles which help make KinCare so effective – its adaptability and “willingness to change and innovate in response to its environment,” its process of continual improvement to stay on top of industry updates and technology, and its front-line approach, wherein staff are empowered to respond to client needs quickly and effectively through mobile technology and responsiveness from management.

The KinCare Mission is “to partner with our customers to enhance health and well-being through excellent community services,” and it appears the organisation is certainly succeeding.

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?

December 16, 2018, 3:54 PM AEDT