Application to grow facility

What a difference 12 months makes in most things in life. Our local aged care facilities are no exception to that rule. A year ago, PCAC's two facilities had a healthy occupancy rate and a manageable waiting list, meaning that if your family was in need of getting a room for a loved one this could be done within a reasonable time frame. Fast forward to now and there is one facility, same number of beds but a great deal more interest in having people move into the new 9 O'Connell Rd home.

It was always the Board's goal to apply for more bed licenses when the opportunity arose and in June this year, this application came up for the first time in a long while. The Management team worked hard to put together what we think is a solid application with sound reasons to be able to extend our number of beds here at Prom Country House from 60 to 80. Along with the bed license application is a grant for capital works which has also been applied for.

Given that we will not know the decision from the Department of Social Services until the New Year it will still be a while until these new rooms and extension is realised. In anticipation of this, in our application we have requested that we be able to use the currently vacant section of Banksia Lodge closest to Prom Country House as an interim step to address the waiting list issue that we are currently faced with.

As most of you that regularly read the newsletter or follow the local media would also be aware, we had spoken to our local federal member Russell Broadbent about this proposal and to Russell's credit he mentioned our situation and our proposal in Parliament House during question time in June. Through this newsletter we will keep the community posted in updates regarding this application and hopefully the success of it.

Financing accommodation in Aged Care has changed from 1 July 2014

Last week, PCAC held an information session in relation to financing your stay in residential aged care. If a person comes into an aged care facility after 1 July 2014, there are new guidelines now put in place by the Federal Government as to how that can be financed. The cost of your stay in a residential home is still based around three payments:

Basic daily fee
This covers living costs such as meals, power and laundry. For some people this is the only fee they are required to pay. The basic daily fee is set at 85% of the single person rate of the basic Age Pension. This works out at $46.50 a day (from 20 March to 19 September 2014). This figure is the same for singles and members of a couple.

Means-tested care fee
This is an additional contribution towards the cost of care that some people may be required to pay. The Department of Human Services will work out if you are required to pay this fee based on an assessment of your income and assets, and will advise you of the amount.

There are annual and lifetime caps that apply to the means-tested care fee. Once these caps are reached, you cannot be asked to pay any more means-tested care fees. Any income-tested fees you have paid in a Home Care Package prior to moving into an aged care home will also contribute to your annual and lifetime caps.

Accommodation payments
This is for your accommodation in the home. Some people will have their accommodation costs met in full or part by the Australian Government, while others will need to pay the accommodation price agreed with us at Prom Country House. The Department of Human Services will advise which applies to you based on assessment of your income and assets.

We will always advise that a family should receive financial advice about what type of accommodation payment will suit the resident best as we are obliged not to provide this type of service.

Further information sessions will be held in the upcoming months regarding finance. In the meantime, if you wish to know more about residential aged care in general, please refer to the My Aged Care website: or more specifically, a stay with us at PCAC, please call 5682 0800 and book a time to sit down and have a chat.


A snag, a slice and a yarn

Starting on the first Friday in June, we are re-introducing barbecue lunches at Prom Country House on a monthly basis. This is a chance for staff, residents, families and visitors to take half an hour to chat with each other and listen to the things that are important to all of the stakeholders in our aged care community. For me, it's a great opportunity to interact with the residents which I miss out on at times along with some of the other workers while trying not to burn the meat. Our fundraising committee will make slices and desserts every month and refreshments will also be available.

Every month, the barbecue venue will rotate to each wing and whilst all are invited, we emphasise participation towards a particular 20 residents each month. They will be asked if they wish to help with the cooking, serving and welcoming of visitors to their courtyard wing. We hope that this will create a feeling of belonging to their community and for everyone involved at PCAC to be better acquainted.

These barbecue lunches will occur on the first Friday of every month. The first one, kicking off in the blue wing. Everyone who has an involvement with PCAC, or wishes to, is welcome to attend.
While discussing events, we are holding a Jazz night cabaret fundraising event on Saturday 21 June at the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre. The headline act will feature the Streeton Court 17 piece Big Band. The South Gippsland Secondary College music students will also be performing on the night. Cost is $25 per person, BYO drinks and nibbles with a light supper provided. You can book a table of ten or single tickets at Revelations in Main St, Foster Tel: 5682 1381. All proceeds go towards valuable equipment for resident care.

A thank you to our community service groups

It seems like an obvious thing to say that community organisations like ours wouldn't exist without the help of our community, but when you drill down into what that means, the essence of that statement is really quite profound. Late last month, we held a dinner to thank some of our major contributors to our building project: The Bendigo Bank, Foster Rotary, Fish Creek Jaycees and Toora Lions. These groups have provided us with a substantial chunk of the $1.2 million we raised through donations and fundraising for Prom Country House.

It was a very special evening for myself and the Board to share with the special people of these groups and to show them what their hard work has produced. When the 50+ guests toured the facility, we highlighted the state of the art kitchen, the three dining rooms, the family room, cinema room, three activities spaces, back-up power generator and sensory garden designed for our residents with dementia among other features. All produced and completed for a mere $4,000 over the projected construction budget of $11.707 million. But the highlight of the tour was when residents came out of their rooms, and of their own accord, invited these community volunteers into their rooms to show them around what they class as their home.
For these service groups and businesses, we realise that this is not a one-off project that they have decided they'll contribute to. This has been a relationship forged through their desire to provide for and strengthen their local community in what is an ongoing part of what they've been doing for years. This will be highlighted in our history book that will be launched on our official Prom Country House opening day on the 8th of May. The amount of work and financial assistance these groups and others have provided aged care in the Corner Inlet region throughout the years has been staggering. Highlighting some of these stories in print form really does bring home that our community does look after each other.