Helping Lives be Well Lived

mecwacare

mecwacare is an industry-leading, not-for-profit provider of home care and community care services for the 31 local councils that form metropolitan Melbourne, as well as the Ballarat region. mecwacare provides in-home, residential, centre-based, disability, and private care services, as well as home care packages to support and promote wellbeing.
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mecwacare was founded in the 1950s by a concerned group of citizens from the Malvern Council and the Rotary Club of Malvern. The group, which held dances to raise funds, strived to have the community actively involved in caring for family members and friends, as well as other aged members of the community who required assistance in order to assure their lives were well lived.

Since 1959 the Malvern Elderly Citizens Welfare Association, now known as mecwacare, has significantly grown, expanding geographically to provide and expand its flexible, broad range of residential, nursing and support services, caring for the aged and disabled population of the Victorian community.

In 1960, mecwacare started its meals-on-wheels program and eventually opened the first of three Opportunity Shops, offering the sale of second hand clothing and household items to raise funds. In 1973, mecwacare opened its Independent Living Units at MECWA House, subsequently known as the Olive Miller Nursing Home, and now the Noel Miller Centre.

In the early 1980s, services were expanded to include mecwacare’s first day care centre, with further expansion coming in the late 1990s with the additions of the Sir Donald and Lady Trescowthick Centre aged care facility, community housing units in Glen Iris, and Rivendell House in Pakenham, which addressed the increasing demand for services in Cardinia Shire. In 2013, mecwacare expanded its reach to Ballarat, for the first time serving a region outside of metropolitan Melbourne. The organisation also began providing Community Housing Services to the City of Bayside, developing slowly but carefully to ensure the quality of its services is never compromised for the sake of growth.

The opening of the new mecwacare Malvern Centre in 2010 and the recent acquisition of two residential facilities in Richmond and on the Mornington Peninsula have significantly increased the organisation’s residential care capacity.

mecwacare is a not-for-profit, non-denominational organisation providing flexible care options and service choices for thousands of clients each week, despite age, finances, religion, culture or lifestyle. With its 1000-strong force of qualified and dedicated personnel and 250 volunteers, mecwacare aims to maximise the quality of life of the Victorian community by providing care services, programs and support that promote independence and wellbeing, actively pursuing opportunities to improve delivery systems and compliance standards.

Whether clients’ require personal care, home care, respite care, community transportation, or one of the many other community services offered, clients, their families, and their caregivers can expect to be treated with care, respect, compassion, dignity, and fairness, in accordance with accountable practices, as mecwacare continually strives to improve client outcomes.

mecwacare’s highly integrated service network allows clients to select how and when they utilise programs, and mecwacare’s dedicated staff is at the ready, ensuring clients’ wellbeing is maximised and providing individually tailored access to one, or all, of the broad range of services available.

Over the last several years, mecwacare has significantly invested in its technological systems to ensure centralised, consistent flows of information across the entire organisation, guaranteeing efficient and effective delivery of quality care. mecwacare has enjoyed significant growth year after year, posting double digit growth in 2012 and 2013. With growth comes additional investment in staff and infrastructure, ensuring caregivers and service providers are equipped with the knowledge, tools, and technology to do their job efficiently and effectively, but also with compassion, emphasising the importance of all clients’ dignity and respect in their times of need or vulnerability.

Chief Executive Michele Lewis explains that mecwacare has invested in an electronic care system and employee record system, as well as other electronic systems and training and development programs to increase the team’s ability to manage resources and improve the flow of information. Investments in technology and electronic systems not only position the company to grow over the next several years, but also maximise the benefit to clients, as services and the skills of employees can be matched to clients’ needs. Staff now have secure access to the necessary client information from mobile devices, further improving the client experience and staff efficiencies.

As an organisation, mecwacare undertakes major recruitment efforts to ensure that it hires the right people who share mecwacare’s mission, vision and values and are dedicated to the wellbeing of their clients, further contributing to mecwacare’s great reputation as a community care and service provider. Internally, mecwacare has a number of employee initiatives that support a good work-life balance for employees. mecwacare has an extensive feedback system to ensure employees’ and clients’ needs are not only being heard, but are being addressed.

Quality staff yields quality outputs, Ms Lewis believes, and mecwacare is willing to do what it takes to continuously improve its programs and service offerings, raising the bar to engage staff, volunteers, the local community, and project partners and ensuring that clients are receiving the highest standard of care. Certainly, mecwacare is team oriented, welcoming partnerships and collaborations to ensure solutions and outcomes are attained and that resources are fully utilised. mecwacare relies on partnerships, such as with food services, construction contracts, and community organisations, which contribute to high standards of quality across the organisation.

Recently, changes to legislation have had an impact on mecwacare and other nursing and residential care agencies. The government has moved to a ‘user pays’ aged care system which essentially places the onus on aged people to take responsibility for their own care by capping off nursing and residential care bonds. The market price system means that care homes need to set a price in relation to each bed in their facilities. Though this legislation was adopted with the intention to be fair, it will potentially make it more expensive for the average person, and more affordable for wealthier individuals who used to cross-subsidise the old system.

Now many individuals and families are faced with the dilemma: though they can secure a place in a care facility, will they be able to afford it? mecwacare, regardless of this barrier to aged care access, will continue to work to provide the Victorian community with the very best quality of care, improving access where it can and growing its people and its organisation in the process.

The work mecwacare does not only improves the quality of life of its clients, but also of their families and their caregivers, as the organisation provides peace of mind through quality care and meaningful programs in the greater Melbourne and Ballarat regions.

It is the goal of mecwacare to continue to grow sustainably, always keen to improve processes and systems of operation where possible. From the Chief Executive to the Board of Directors, to the staff and volunteer force, every level of mecwacare’s organisation has a clear understanding of, and is an active part of the collaborative goal of improving quality of life in the Victorian community.

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July 19, 2018, 7:48 PM AEST