People Driven, Community Minded

New Horizons

With services encompassing aged, disability and mental health care as well as homelessness, employment, youth and Indigenous services, New Horizons’ staff of more than 850 professionals across New South Wales and Victoria has likely touched in some way, the life of someone dear to you – if not your own.

Its genesis stretches back nearly sixty years to a group of parents who fought to find meaningful employment for their adult children living with disability. Since then, the company has developed an impressive portfolio of services expertly designed to provide the most needed specialised support for its customers in the areas of: daily living skills development, cultural and spiritual support, community and social programs, independence, physical wellbeing, accommodation, employment, education and training.

Since inception, the organisation’s focus has been on designing and facilitating individualised support programs for the communities it serves. All of the programs are meant to provide opportunities for individuals to remain participatory in their communities and connected to their culture, while feeling valued and respected.

“These purpose-driven outcomes reinforce our vision that individuals are at their best when communities work together in collaborative and inclusive ways,” New Horizons CEO Judi Higgin explains. “It’s these fundamental values that continue to drive our everyday practice of increasing opportunity and improving quality of life.”

With the recent launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, perhaps the biggest shake-up in the community service sector in generations, New Horizons’ philosophy and method of providing personalised support has been recognised as being the most fruitful and effective means of delivering these important services.

The organisation developed its methodology over many years of serving its diverse customers, who seek New Horizons’ support to overcome various wellbeing barriers. With a clear understanding that no two customers are alike, and the experience to develop and provide world-class services, New Horizons has seen incredible success in supporting the community with meaningful care services.

“Accessing services from New Horizons is somewhat like purchasing comprehensive insurance – no matter what your circumstances are or how they might change over time, we’ve got your needs covered,” says Ms Higgin. “Depending on their needs, our clients can choose what basics and extras they might like, how and when they’d like to receive different services and package together their own, unique plan.”

And New Horizons understands that in order to provide such all-encompassing support for customers, building a true understanding of each customer’s needs is vital. “It’s about taking the time to listen and learn from our customers to discover what wellbeing means to them,” Ms Higgin adds. “We believe in wellbeing in every sense of the word; whether it’s physical, social, emotional, cultural or spiritual wellbeing – or a combination of those factors. We tailor services to meet the needs of each individual.”

In order to provide its customers with easy access and timely support, the organisation has established more than twenty-six sites across New South Wales and Victoria. Communities from Tweed Heads in Northern New South Wales to Geelong in Southern Victoria have the additional support of a mobile workforce that can provide support for people who aren’t able to access a physical site. Truly, it is the people of the organisation – the passionate workforce who endeavour each day to support their valued customers – who make all the difference.

Representative of the varied communities in which it serves, the staff of New Horizons is equally as diverse and represents a great number of cultural backgrounds across the company’s more than 850 employees. This diversity brings a wealth of skills and experiences, and also means the organisation is well-equipped to cater to the specific and varied cultural needs of clients through authentic understanding.

New Horizons has been recognised as one of Australia’s top employers of Indigenous Australians, with more than seven per cent of the organisation’s workforce identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. “These figures highlight the diversity of our team and strongly places us in a good position to understand the cultural needs of our staff and community,” Ms Higgin shares, adding, “This figure also highlights our role as one of Australia’s top employers for Indigenous Australians, a fact I’m extremely proud of. Through our team and services, we’re continuing to ensure a strong voice for Indigenous people within our workforce and community.”

New Horizons’ commitment to meeting the needs of its culturally and linguistically diverse customer base can be seen through the organisation’s ongoing commitment to providing staff with opportunities for professional development, designed to build knowledge and facilitate understanding.

Recognising the importance of culture as the basis for wellbeing, key strategies and initiatives have been implemented – at every level of the organisation – to ensure that customer’s varied needs will be met through New Horizons’ suite of services. “It’s a difference in how we operate, and the high value we place on continuous improvement and collaboration, that ultimately sees the best outcomes for our customers. By demonstrating respect, integrity and passion, we’ve gained the trust of communities and have been able to make a difference in the lives of thousands of individuals. As we continue to move forward in this world of change, it’s a key strength that will push us towards our ultimate goal of enhancing people’s wellbeing and strengthening communities.”

In order to better support Australia’s growing elderly population, the organisation developed New Horizons Aged Care in April of 2003 with the opening of a new, custom-built facility in North Ryde, which brought together the staff and residents of two sites.

For many of Australia’s elderly, considering the transition to aged care can be a daunting process, but New Horizons Aged Care works with each resident to make sure the process is a positive one. The staff’s commitment to providing caring support and the organisation’s excellent reputation both help to provide residents with the knowledge that they will be well supported. Linda Silman stepped in as its Director of Care in 2007.

“Building a strong reputation can only come from doing an excellent job. When people in the community start to think about their future and consider transitioning into aged care, they usually start their search by asking questions to family, friends and trusted professionals or even someone who has been in aged care themselves,” explains Ms Silman.

“We work very hard to develop relationships with families, extended families and members of the community, whilst also maintaining a strong professional face. It’s that kind of word-of-mouth that spreads quickly.”

In order to best serve its residents, New Horizons Aged Care has carefully developed an industry leading set of services designed to provide meaningful, high quality care for each resident, including short and long-term respite and palliative care, podiatry, physiotherapy, occupational, music and art therapy, as well as massage and optometry. Additional services include wound care, dietician support, hairdressing and beautician services, and visiting doctors.

At its aged care centre, the organisation employs sixty-five health care professionals, including registered nurses, diversional therapists, wound care specialists, a physiotherapist and a number of other on-call specialists. The site offers residents all the comfort of home, including cutting edge technology, home cooked meals and a beautiful courtyard garden.

“We’re committed to giving families and loved ones peace of mind by providing state of the art facilities and high quality care in a comfortable and supportive environment. With over sixty-five nurses and specialists on staff, as well as direct access to a network of specialist services and professionals, loved ones can relax knowing everything they need is at their fingertips.”

Perhaps more importantly, Ms Silman recognises that there is more to ensuring and enhancing wellbeing than clinical or medical support. Wellbeing, she says, is about feeling valued and respected, while remaining closely connected to family, community and culture. It also encompasses staying physically active and healthy to remain as independent as possible.

Acknowledging that change can be daunting for all of us, New Horizons Aged Care staff take care to provide each transitioning resident with his or her own space. New residents will be supported to know where everything is and friendly neighbours will help to create a sense of comfort that can only be achieved when one truly feels at home. “To make it easier, we take every measure to minimise any unnecessary stress while they move in, get settled and meet their new neighbours. Feeling more like a resort than aged care, we provide all of the conveniences and comforts of home, such as home-cooked meals, contemporary furnishings and fittings, skylights, artwork and a large, award-winning garden.”

Looking forward, Ms Silman recognises that Australia’s elderly population will continue to grow and will require even more support. “As the population in Australia continues to age, there are more support options for people to stay in the community and in their homes for a longer period of time. Given this, people today are transitioning into aged care at a much frailer age, usually in their eighties or nineties,” she says. “The skill set needed of staff to look after some of our frailer residents then, needs to be very high.”

New Horizons Aged Care has worked to establish strong connections with specialists and professionals in order to meet the needs of residents currently residing at the home and those who will be in the future. “As people transition into aged care at a later stage in life and in a frailer state, we’re well-equipped to cater to their specific needs because we’re already used to catering to that demographic.”

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, 3:30 AM AEDT