Future options for Aged Care

Infographic - please see PDF download for more information

Download a PDF of the infographic: Aged Care Transfer - What Does This Mean? July 2017(43 kb)

New Provider Selected for Aged Care Facilities

With the aim of ensuring the community continues to have access to a high standard of aged care services, Port Augusta City Council has selected Edenfield Family Care as the new owner of AM Ramsay Village and Nerrilda Nursing Home.

In a process which first began in 2013, when Council sought expressions of interest for a quality aged care provider to operate the facilities, Mayor Sam Johnson said considerable work and scrutiny had gone into selecting the new owner through a sale process which commenced in May last year.

Throughout the process, Mayor Johnson said communication with residents, their families and staff has been paramount. This included monthly letters to residents and their families and monthly updates to staff. Staff, families and residents were also the first to be notified of the transfer of ownership decision. Council has also involved key staff from each facility, a community representative and Council staff on an advisory panel which has overseen the process.

Edenfield Family Care has an excellent reputation for quality care in Adelaide’s northern suburbs and will add Nerrilda Nursing Home and AM Ramsay Village to its portfolio which includes its family owned and operated facility at Parafield Gardens, with ownership to be transferred on October 23, 2017. A transition stage has commenced and this will see the new owners regularly visit the facilities, and meet with staff, residents and their families. The facilities will be known as Edenfield Family Care – Nerrilda and Edenfield Family Care – Ramsay.

As part of the transfer of ownership to Edenfield Family Care, all residents retain their security of tenure under terms of existing resident agreements and all staff will be offered employment on comparable terms and conditions to existing arrangements. This will provide continuity of care for residents.

Read the full media release

Key Messages

Why is Council Selling its Residential Aged Care Facilities?

Residential Aged Care is changing, both through the nature of its residents with an increased rate of dementia and through changing legislation relating to the aged care sector.

The type of care being provided is now more aligned to sub-acute care (hospital-type care). When AM Ramsay Village was established, it was a hostel for residents that were still reasonably independent and Nerrilda catered for Medium to High Care residents. Now Ramsay has more than 50 per cent of its residents classified as high care and Nerrilda has residents whose care needs is more aligned to sub-acute care. More people are entering residential aged care with complex care needs, nearer the end of life or with ‘behaviours of concern’. This requires aged care facilities to have strong health care systems that are specifically based on the health care sector, not Local Government regimes.

The Federal Government has removed the distinction between low and high care as part of the Living Longer Living Better Aged Care reforms. This means that all aged care facilities are required to provide ageing in place (that is residents receive a higher level of care in the facility in which they are originally placed), placing more pressure on our facilities and staff, in particular AM Ramsay Village which historically cared for low care residents.

The nature of aged care has also now progressed to require a health/medical care focus rather than assisted living and thus relies on thinking and systems that are outside of the expertise of Local Government.

Council is not in a position to borrow the large sums of money necessary to upgrade buildings to current and future standards, being close to the maximum level of borrowings that it can make. Council is faced with increasing demands for significant spending on infrastructure and asset management to address the mounting backlog. There is also the possibility of rate capping legislation being introduced to effectively cap the amount that Council rates can be increased to CPI. This in turn has a negative impact on the ability of Council to provide services to the community.

Who is purchasing the facilities?

Port Augusta City Council has signed asset sale agreements with Edenfield Family Care to acquire Port Augusta City Council’s residential aged care facilities, Nerrilda Nursing Home and AM Ramsay Village. Whilst still subject to the approval of the relevant Government Departments, Edenfield Family Care is expected to assume ownership and operation of the business on 23rd October 2017.

Edenfield Family Care is a family owned organisation that has an excellent reputation for quality care in Adelaide’s northern suburbs and pride themselves on being dedicated to aged care.

Edenfield Family Care is immensely proud of the reputation that their facilities and services hold in the community and is grateful for the incredible contribution by many dedicated staff and volunteers over the years. Port Augusta City Council is confident that Edenfield Family Care will uphold the reputation of their residential care services and will continue to ensure each facility remains a loving and caring home for our residents and a great place for staff to work.

When will Edenfield Family Care take ownership?

Based on our current timetable, and subject to relevant Government Department approvals, Edenfield Family Care will assume ownership of Nerrilda Nursing Home and AM Ramsay Village on 23 October 2017. However, both parties will work closely together during a transition period up to the date of transfer of ownership to ensure a smooth transition for residents and staff.

Will there be any impact on existing Residents?

Edenfield Family Care will ensure all Residents’ rights are protected, security of tenure is maintained and continuity of care is paramount.

The rights of residential aged care residents are also covered under the Aged Care Act 1997. This Act provides for a change in ownership of a facility and the subsequent tenure of residents. It outlines both the rights of residents and the obligations of the provider in such a situation.

Ongoing care needs of Residents will be maintained at the highest standard during this transition period. Residents will receive the same standard of care, meals and ancillary services they enjoy today.

Current resident agreements, as signed by the Resident or a member of the family, on entry to Nerrilda Nursing Home/AM Ramsay Village, will still be valid and Residents/Representatives do not have to sign a new agreement.

Liability for the refund of lump sum accommodation payments in accordance with resident agreement requirements will be transferred to Edenfield Family Care on the settlement date with current arrangements continuing. All lump sum accommodation payments are protected under the Aged Care Act 1997 including the Accommodation Payment Guarantee Scheme.

Fees and charges in aged care are mostly set by the Federal Government, who review these twice per year. Edenfield Family Care, as with all aged care providers, must abide by the fee structure and legislation set down by the government.

Will staff retain their jobs?

All staff of Nerrilda Nursing Home and AM Ramsay Village, across all roles, will be offered a role with Edenfield Family Care on terms and conditions similar to, and, considered on an overall basis, no less favourable than that employee’s current terms and conditions of employment.

Employment for staff accepting roles with Edenfield Family Care will transfer over as at the settlement date with all leave entitlements also transferred at that date. Prior service will also be recognised for the purpose of calculating benefits with the new employer.

Staff who choose not to accept an offer of employment with Edenfield Family Care will have their employment with Council terminated as at the settlement date. Employees from the business units of Nerrilda Nursing Home and AM Ramsay Village will not be eligible for separation payments from Council.

Council encourages as many staff as possible to continue their employment with Edenfield Family Care as your experience, commitment and contribution are valued.

What will the facilities be called?

The facilities will be known as:

Edenfield Family Care – Nerrilda

Edenfield Family Care – Ramsay

What about Health Focus?

Health Focus, funded through the Commonwealth Home Support Program, will continue to be operated by the Port Augusta City Council in its current location through a lease agreement with Edenfield Family Care until the current CHSP funding agreement expires on 30th June 2018.

What about the Nerrilda Auxiliary?

The Auxiliary have been a vital part of Nerrilda for many years and the commitment by members of the community to actively fundraise for the benefit of the residents is acknowledged and greatly appreciated. Hopefully these activities would continue unchanged.

Funds raised by the Nerrilda Auxiliary are used to purchase equipment to enhance the quality of life of the residents of Nerrilda Nursing Home. The existing process is that the Care Manager approaches the Auxiliary with a ‘wish list’ of equipment to be purchased. The Auxiliary decides where the funds will be spent. It is not anticipated that this will change. The residents of the Nursing Home will continue to need the support of the auxiliary.

Edenfield Family Care is keen to work closely with the Nerrilda Auxiliary and will be meeting with members of the Auxiliary at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss how the current relationship between the Auxiliary and Nerrilda management can be continued.

Is the Homestead Park land part of the sale?

Yes, Edenfield Family Care has purchased the land in Elsie Street which previously housed Homestead Park. This area excludes the toilet block and grassed area which remains open space for the community.

Council is liaising with the current tenants of the area, the Model Engineers and Vehicle Restorers Club in relation to potential sites for relocation. Council is currently working through a process to identify possible actions in relation to Yudnapinna Homestead and a further report will be presented to Council in the near future. This purchase is conditional upon Council relocating the Yudnapinna Homestead and all current tenants within the next twelve months.

Have Council’s original conditions of sale been met?

Care of the residents and continuing employment of the majority of staff was paramount during sale negotiations and the purchaser was asked to address certain assessment criteria. Council’s original criteria included:

These conditions have been met through relevant clauses in the asset sale agreements.

Nerrilda is on Crown Land, can it be sold?

Council has been working with the State Government in relation to the sale process for the Nerrilda Land.This has involved undertaking a sub-division to remove a portion of the land, still subject to Native Title, from the Nerrilda Nursing Home land.The sub-division application has been submitted to the Development Assessment Commission for approval.

The Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation has approved the sale of the Nerrilda land to Port Augusta City Council who will then on-sell to Edenfield Family Care. This process is continuing with the aim of being resolved by the anticipated date of the sale.

What would happen to the money donated by the German Club that is earmarked for the care of residents at Nerrilda and Ramsay?

The money will be used as it was intended, which is to purchase equipment to support the care of residents at both facilities. Council is in control of the funds, as agreed with the German Club, and this will remain the case with requests for use of the funds to be made to Council.

Will the sale of the facilities reduce my rates?

The sale of Nerrilda and Ramsay Village will only have minimal effect on rates in Port Augusta in the short term. There will be efficiencies across some functions within Council such as HR, payroll and accounts payable.

Council’s deficit will be reduced as depreciation expense for Nerrilda Nursing Home and AM Ramsay Village of $645,000 will be removed. Any surplus funds from the sale of the facilities will be used for debt reduction as per Council policy.

Where can we find out more information?

If you have further queries regarding the sale of the facilities, please contact Anne O’Reilly, Director Community Services, Port Augusta City Council on (08) 8641 9100.

There are a number of resources that will give you a broader view of the issue Council is facing in the delivery of aged care.

The impact of the aged care reforms and the increased number of dementia residents is not isolated to Port Augusta. These are issues facing aged care providers nationwide, which is one reason specialist aged-care organisations are best positioned to manage the facilities.

Download a PDF of these Frequently Asked Questions: Frequently Asked Questions - Aged Care August 2017

Transition of Residential Aged Care Timeline - see PDF for more information

Download a PDF of the infographic: Transition of Residential Aged Care Timeline(155 kb)

Previous publications

Download a PDF of the infographic: Port Augusta Residential Aged Care Snapshot(481 kb)

Why Council opted to explore Aged Care Options for Port Augusta

Port Augusta City Council decided to investigate if it could attract the development of additional aged accommodation to the City in 2013.

The shortage of suitable housing for older people has long been acknowledged in Port Augusta with the need for smaller, assisted-living style housing highlighted in Council’s Ageing Strategy 2007-2012 ‘Making Port Augusta a Better Place to Grow Older’.

In an attempt to secure this style of adaptable housing, Port Augusta City Council also explored the option of having the one specialist care provider to also deliver the residential aged care services that are presently provided by Council. This would have included AM Ramsay Village and Nerrilda Nursing Home.

Port Augusta City Council’s Director of Community Services, Anne O’Reilly, said Council sought expressions of interest from not-for-profit Approved Providers of residential aged care and retirement housing for the development and management of aged accommodation in Port Augusta.

There have been many changes in residential aged care since Council became involved in its management. It is now far more aligned with sub-acute care and there are an increasing number of residents with dementia and ‘behaviours of concern’.

The new aged care reforms ‘Living Longer Living Better’ also impacts on the management of the facilities and Mrs O’Reilly said a specialist aged care provider is much better positioned to respond to these reforms than Local Government.

Council's aim was to attract a specialist aged care provider that could build and manage assisted-living style accommodation on the Homestead Park site, and could align in with the specialist health care services it would have provided at both aged care facilities.

Download a list of Questions and Answers around the initial Expression of Interest process in 2013 Aged Care Q & A(157 kb)

Links to relevant documents & further information:

2007-2012 Ageing Strategy ‘Making Port Augusta a Better Place to Grow Older’Port Augusta Ageing Strategy(367 kb)

Federal Government’s Living Better Living Longer information

Productivity Commission 2011, Caring for Older Australians, Report No. 53, Final Inquiry Report,Canberra. http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/aged-care/report

Background

Port Augusta City Council’s Ageing Strategy 2007-2012 was developed after extensive consultation with the local community and was adopted by Council on 27th August 2007.

One of the key recommendations from the Ageing Strategy was:

‘Initiate discussions with not-for-profit aged care providers to explore the potential for a partnership approach to developing and managing additional aged care places to meet demand for services after 2015. This may involve Council ceasing to be a direct funder of services after that time. Community support for this approach would be contingent on Council establishing and publicising criteria to ensure that the level of concessional access meets community needs and that the quality of care is maintained to a very high standard.’

Council resolved to call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) on 22 July 2013. This EOI was in relation to aged accommodation as well as residential aged care in an attempt to address the shortage of aged accommodation in Port Augusta using the Homestead Park land whilst ensuring sustainable residential aged care into the future.

This call resulted in five organisations expressing interest and after initial conversations, detailed discussions were held with one organisation. This organisation subsequently withdrew interest in August 2015.

The reasons Council are once again considering options for the provision of aged care are just as valid now as they were in 2013.

Residential Aged Care is changing, both through the nature of its residents with an increased rate of dementia and through changing legislation relating to the aged care sector.

The type of care being provided is now more aligned to sub-acute care (hospital-type care). When AM Ramsay Village was established, it was a hostel for residents that were still reasonably independent and Nerrilda catered for Medium to High Care residents. Now Ramsay has 50 per cent of its residents classified as high care and Nerrilda has residents whose care needs are more aligned to sub acute care. More people are entering residential aged care with complex care needs, nearer the end of life or with ‘behaviours of concern’. This requires aged care facilities to have strong health care systems that are specifically based on the health care sector, not Local Government regimes.

With the changing aged care fee structure from 1 July 2014 to more of a user pays system, prospective residents & their families’ expectations are also higher. There is more demand for single rooms. Current building designs at both of Council’s facilities are not well suited to current best practice nursing, especially for residents with dementia.

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