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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Aged care’s future on the doorstep of Parliament House in the nation’s capital

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Construction has finally finished on Canberra’s Uniting Amala aged care home, and it is being celebrated as an innovative model of care that aligns with recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Eight years in the making, the 124-bed home in the national capiltal’s south operates under the ‘household model’ of care which gives greater freedom to residents to make their own choices throughout the day in smaller households of 18-20 people.

This highly flexible approach honours and respects the wishes of residents by putting their needs first to make sure that they are living the life they want to lead.

“We’re proud to showcase the ‘household’ model in Canberra to be an example of how older Australians can have more independence in residential aged care,” Director of Ageing, Saviour Buhagiar, says.

“Uniting believes the Household Model is the future of residential aged care and our residents love the extra freedom it brings.”

The model of care reflects the direction of the Royal Commission Final Report, that states that the government should “create incentives for providers to develop small households of accommodation” (Recommendation 142) as well as guidelines for dementia-care that are “capable of application to small ‘household’ models of accommodation” (Recommendation 45).

“The Royal Commission agrees that smaller homes with more personal care should be encouraged and developed, and we hope the Federal Government can look to Uniting Amala to see what can be achieved by this model.” Buhagiar says.

The home is currently made up of six households, including two high-care ‘memory support units’ which offer state-of-the-art dementia care and sits within a campus which also features the Uniting Amala Independent Living Village and Uniting Canberra Seniors Gym.

The campus has been designed to acknowledge a continuum of care between retirement living, home and community care and residential care.

The development will be particularly important to older couples whose care needs change over time as both will be able to receive the support they need without having to move too far from partners and friends.

Director of property and housing, Simon Furness says the aged care provider sees the household model of care as the centrepiece of its approach that puts the dignity and wishes of its residents at its centre.

“Something that is particularly important for older Australians living with dementia,” he says.

Uniting operates more than 50 sites across NSW and the ACT, making it one of the largest providers of residential aged care for both.

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