ALL SMILES: Princes Court Homes CEO Jenny Garonne, and director of Care Services Sianne Nicholds, are rightly happy about, and proud of, the Homes’ accreditation rating.

By JOHN DOOLEY

WHEN new standards for aged care providers were introduced in July last year, all Australian Government subsidised aged care services were required to review their procedures in order to meet the stringent new criteria and maintain their accreditation.

Mildura’s Princes Court Homes was one such organisation, and they have managed not only to adhere to the new standards, but achieved a 100 percent rating in the audit carried out by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) during their reaccreditation review, something which is undertaken every three years.

Princes Court CEO Jenny Garonne said the organisation was extremely proud to have achieved this high benchmark.

“We received 100 percent success rate for the 42 measurable requirements – right across all of our care,” she said.

“Criteria including everything from care, to the environment, human resources and our organisation’s governance, were assessed. The new standards are not just about ticking the boxes – they clearly define what quality aged care should look like.

“Our results are a fantastic endorsement of the standards and systems we have at Princes Court to ensure quality and safety, but it’s about much more than that.

“Meeting the new standards is about providing care that is people-centred and responds to the individual as a person, which is what we strive to achieve for every one of our residents.”

On a national basis, Princes Court is one of small number of organisations that have achieved 100 percent compliance through the reaccreditation audit process. Under the new requirements, there are eight key standards that aged care providers must meet − no matter what type of aged care services they provide.

Primary among those standards is the provision of dignity and choice − ensuring residents are treated with dignity and respect, and they maintain their identity and are able to make informed choices about their care and services, and live the life they choose.

Ms Garonne credits Princes Court’s high standards to the efforts of her staff and the board of management, while also paying tribute to the efforts of the former acting director of nursing, Sue Zariko, who she said had played a pivotal role in Princes Court attaining such an outstanding result.

“Sue did a huge amount of work within what was very much a team effort which she was leading in the preparation and throughout the reaccreditation process, ensuring we achieved these results,” she said.

“I would also like to commend our board members for their outstanding contribution to the process, something that they undertook in a very supportive and professional manner. Their work is another reason why we were so successful.

“We are fortunate to have such a committed, community-based board, that has the whole facility at heart, in everything that they do. They contribute significant amount of time and effort on a voluntary basis.

“Organisational governance is something that has really changed with these new standards, which now sees boards also being accountable for what is happening in their facility.”

Princes Court director of care services, Sianne Nicholds, said that the organisation needed to be able to meet the need of each individual.

“Everyone deserves to feel happy, safe, valued and respected and our focus is on helping the people in our community to lead a life they aspire to – in effect that means supporting our residents to pursue their interests, maintain their independence, stay active and to connect with others in ways they feel comfortable,” she said.

As part of the audit process, the ACQSC spent three days at Princes Court inspecting documentation, speaking with management, staff and the board, as well as residents. The visiting auditors also spoke with family members of residents, who they chose at random, without prior warning, all in all, giving the Commission a thorough understanding, from the ground up, of how the facility operates.

Ms Garonne said that Princes Court, with almost 100 permanent residents, prides itself on its more than 60-year connection with the community, something that is demonstrated through a number of programs and projects.

“One of the most recent main ones has been ‘The Mallee Living Histories’ project in conjunction with a number of local enthusiasts. We connected a group of writers with the storytellers – our residents − and this has been very successful with the impending release of a new book,” she said.

“We also are working with the Mildura English Language Centre, which sees young new Australian migrant children coming to Princes Court, to be helped by residents to learn English, at the same time the residents providing the grandparents ‘connects’ many left behind overseas.”

Ms Nicholds said that even though Princes Court had achieved a 100 percent rating from the Commission, they were not sitting on their hands and will continue to strive for greater excellence in care.

“It’s not about being content with where we are, but rather, let’s keep pushing that bar higher and higher,” she said.

Ms Garonne further emphasised the importance of the role the entire team at Princes Court (160 staff and volunteers) have played in achieving these standards.

“The time and effort involved in getting to the point where we were able to be reaccredited, has taken significant time and commitment from our leadership team in particular, but all of our staff have contributed to the overall result, and importantly so have our wonderful volunteers,” she said.

“They have been amazing, and the connections we have to our community partners – the services clubs – Rotary and Legacy, the hospitals, allied health services and our schools, have all played excellent assistance roles in what we are achieving here. I must also pay tribute to our resident’s families, who also make up part of our community, and make a valuable contribution to daily life at Princes Court.”