Excellence in Aged Care

Advantaged Care

The Kresners had been involved in property development for nearly half a century when the failing health of the family patriarch inspired the clan to strike out in a new direction. “We got into the [aged care] industry through personal experience,” Advantaged Care Managing Director Michael Kresner recalls. “My late grandfather’s health deteriorated very quickly. We looked for what we hoped would be an appropriate solution for his needs. And we just couldn’t find anything.”

The Kresners quickly realised that the solution they sought simply didn’t exist. “It was quite distressing for the family. He ended up in a very small room, six or eight square meters, with no windows or anywhere to put a photo or many personal belongings – not even space for a visitor to sit down on a chair,” shares Mr Kresner. The family saw a huge disconnect between the quality of housing available to aged care residents and the standard of housing that their property development business, The Kresner Group, had always upheld. “It just wasn’t congruent with our history of producing good outcomes.”

The family decided that something had to be done. “In every other stage of life people are given choices,” Mr Kresner points out. “You can go on holidays and stay at a Best Western or you can stay at the Hilton, or anywhere in between. People find what suits them. For the first time we were placed in a situation where the right choice wasn’t available to us. That is what got us starting to look at the aged care industry as an opportunity where we could create real value using our property development skills and background to offer better choices to Australians.”

This property development background has been key to Advantaged Care’s success. “The directors have very strong skills in being able to produce very high quality built environments, from a functionality and from an aesthetic prospective,” Mr Kresner reports. “We are able to deliver superior homes where people feel very comfortable.” Advantaged Care homes are “light, airy, and homely” – a stark contrast to the dreary, institutional feel plaguing some aged care facilities. Walking into an Advantaged Care building is like a “breath of fresh air” for families looking to find a welcoming home for their loved ones, says Mr Kresner. He works hard to ensure that every Advantaged Care facility provides the environment that he would want for his own grandparents. And, in fact, two of Mr Kresner’s late grandparents lived out their last years in his facilities, and his grandmother recently celebrated her 99th birthday as a resident of the company’s Bondi Waters locale.

A drive for excellence is at the heart of everything that Advantaged Care does, Mr Kresner adds. “We founded Advantaged Care on values which we personally aspire to, and that is pursuit of excellence,” he explains. The team channels their pursuit of excellence into three concrete goals: excellence in the built environment, excellence in people, and excellence in care. The latter “should prevail once you have [the first two] sorted out,” Mr Kresner explains. The first focus – excellence in the built environment – came naturally to the family, as the Kresner Group had already been achieving this outcome for decades. That left plenty of time and energy for achieving excellence in people – an especially critical component of any aged care business. “Aged care in particular is a place where you need to be careful with the working environment and the risks associated with the residents,” Mr Kresner explains. “To look after the residents you need the right people.”

Unfortunately, finding the right people isn’t always easy in the aged care industry. “Aged care is a very tough industry. It is very highly regulated but it is not very highly paid, especially for the floor staff.” Therefore, to be a good fit for aged care, you need to “get satisfaction out of what you are doing, out of the contribution that you are making to people’s lives.” As a result, Advantaged Care specifically looks for people whose personalities match the job requirements. “We have very different employment processes to most organisations,” Mr Kresner explains. “We focus on different things. We focus on who you are, not necessarily what you know.” The organisation is well equipped to teach a new employee the skills they need for the job; a caring, cheerful attitude, however, must be an innate part of an employee’s disposition. As a result, the Advantaged Care staff stands out for the excellent care that they provide. “People often comment to me that when they walk around my facilities, the staff have smiles on their faces and they say hello. You can see that they are really enjoying their work. And in aged care, that is important.”

Advantaged Care boasts three state of the art facilities. Georges Manor, located in Bankstown, NSW, is an extra services facility specially designed to allow residents to age in place. The home provides five levels of care: low and high nursing care, dementia care with low and high nursing care, and respite care. Georges Manor has 144 rooms, all of which are private, measure at least 24 square metres, and include ensuite bathrooms. Advantaged Care was one of the first aged care facilities in the area to offer this high level of accommodation. “It was an industry benchmark when it opened,” Mr Kresner remembers. “It was a unique offering in southwest Sydney.” The facility also has a theatre, a sheltered courtyard, and intimate dining and lounge areas designed to encourage interaction among residents.

Bondi Waters, an extra services aged care facility with 56 private rooms, is the only one of its kind in Bondi. “Most of the aged care facilities in the area have been forced out because of land value prices,” Mr Kresner explains. The seven storey building features a stunning rooftop lounge overlooking Bondi Beach, as well as a dining area with outdoor terraces and water views. The location is only a ten minute walk to the beach.

Barden Lodge, located in Barden Ridge, NSW, is Advantaged Care’s newest facility. The home is conveniently located near shops, cafés, and a community centre, in a pleasant neighbourhood with tree lined streets. Contemporary décor and furnishings are utilised throughout the building. The facility is smaller than most, providing “a boutique experience in aged care” that includes private courtyards and garden areas, a lifestyle coordinator, a beauty salon, and a staff of registered nurses on call around the clock.

Advantaged Care is also planning a new facility in Liverpool, NSW that will have around 130 beds and two dementia specific wings. Traditionally, Advantaged Care has targeted the upper end of the market, but this home “is changing the model a little bit,” says Mr Kresner. “It will cater to the financially disadvantaged as well.” As with all Advantaged Care facilities, the new building will artfully integrate outdoor and indoor spaces. “We are trying to create a real connectivity,” Mr Kresner says of the design. “Advantaged care is really focused on creating light and transparency throughout the building so that you’ve got that connectivity to the garden and the bush and the streetscape. Our residents and families really appreciate being connected to the world around them.”

Mr Kresner is confident that Advantaged Care’s newest – and future – facilities will continue to provide a pleasant, welcoming environment, as well as the highest standards of care. “We learn from our experiences so that we can continuously improve,” he points out. “We spent a lot of time over the last seven or eight years working on our systems. As an organisation we are very thorough; we have put a lot of time and energy into being a benchmark organisation in terms of how we deliver care and how we run our organisation.”

The team’s first goal, which was to be a 500 bed organisation, has nearly been achieved, and the team is now undertaking a planning process to look at the next five years. With so much success already under its belt, the next few years look exceptionally promising. “We are placed in a very good situation,” Mr Kresner remarks. “The last five years have been about laying the foundations, really getting our systems and processes in place. We are very well placed to grow, both from a financial and an organisational prospective. So the next five years are really exciting.”

For more information about Advantaged Care, please visit http://www.advantagedcare.com.au/

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