Company Reports - Wesley Mission
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Wesley Mission Provides Integrated Care Models to NSW Communities
What originated out of Sydney’s and Australia’s first Methodist Church in 1812 has grown into a major and prominent provider of community services across New South Wales. From those beginnings nearly 200 years ago, Wesley Mission has expanded its work to encompass a whole range of care and compassionate services.
Wesley Mission is a Christian, values-driven organization on a real mission—to minister to a community with real needs. Through the values of courageous commitment, unfailing integrity and Christlike servanthood, Wesley Mission shapes its programs, church services, activities and people to support those in need effectively—wherever they are.
Currently, Wesley Mission is rapidly expanding its work with the aged population to keep up with the growing aging demographics in Australia. With 80 years of care provision to the elderly, Wesley Mission has moved from a model where low and high care residents were supported in separate residential facilities, to an integrated model where residents can “age-in-place” or choose to receive services in their home to enable them to remain independent for as long as possible.
The medical model of the 1950’s model of aged care gave way to homelike environments within residential facilities during the 1980’s. The 21st century has seen further progress where care is now delivered from a “person centered” perspective. This ensures that individuals within a residential environment are treated as unique personalities rather than a statistic that must fit in with an institutional timetable of activities. CEO and Superintendent Rev. Dr Keith Garner says, “This fits in with Wesley Mission’s great emphasis, which seeks to offer individuals an integrated range of services specific to their personal needs.”
Part of that is providing in-home care. Rev. Dr Keith Garner says, “Baby boomers expect more for their money, and the care we provide must match their expectations.” What Wesley Mission offers is assisted living options for older people who want to live in a caring, Christian community.
Wesley Mission also oversees three major villages with 441 units, including the Alan Walker Village in Carlingford. A $28 million project is underway there to develop “whole of person” care for residents. This project will be followed by an $85 million project at the Frank Vickery site in Sylvania, which will involve demolishing old units and replacing them with new facilities.
These retirement villages offer independent, affordable living options. The range of flexible care options are extensive, from fully funded care packages to temporary care following hospitalization or illness. “We want the independent living units to allow residents to downsize their cares but not their lifestyles,” Rev. Dr Keith Garner says.
There are varied levels of support to residents to meet their specific levels of care needs, from medications and complex health needs to social and spiritual activities. The organization offers movies, sing-along’s, gentle exercise programs, arts and crafts and beyond. There is also chaplaincy care at each site for church services and pastoral support. “We purposely want to meet people’s needs in a real, rounded way,” Rev. Dr Keith Garner says.
Due to the fact that Wesley Mission works in an extremely complex and sophisticated environment and must meet certain government, contractual and legislative compliances, there is a strong need for an integrated system. In response, Wesley Mission has developed the Synergy Program, which is an umbrella that embraces the organization’s finances, work management and charter delegations.
The organization is currently implementing an integrated software program to meet its current and future requirements through a finance and workplace software package from Oracle called PeopleSoft.
The integrated PeopleSoft system was introduced as a “one source of truth project,” which allows Wesley Mission to function with it as the backbone of the organization’s information. The $8.4 million project will be fully implemented, and up and running in December 2011. With parts of it currently operational, Wesley Mission has already begun to feel the benefits—more accuracy, timeliness, flexibility and efficiency.
Rev. Dr Keith Garner says, “We moved into this technology is because we’re such a large organization and want to work together in an integrated away. With a broad range of services and over 400 programs across NSW, to take this approach to community work not only maximizes economic benefits but allows us to have a range of options for care.”
CARING FOR THE CARERS
Wesley Mission has a large staff of 2,200 employees, and strives to make the organization a place where people value working. Wesley Mission ensures the benefits in working for Wesley are more than fiscal, from employee support systems to paid parental leave and staff recognition programs. These programs are there to make working for Wesley Mission a place of significance and worth. The organization is looking at a mentoring program to provide the appropriate support and skill base to grow people for the future.
In coming years, Wesley Mission will continue to bring its mission and ministry to the NSW community. Rev. Dr Keith Garner believes the organization is now in a position, with the major aged care developments, to look at new ways in which it can further develop work with the most marginalized, like the homeless. “In the future, we’ll be the not-for-profit that people will want to work for and will seek for care of all kinds,” Rev. Dr Keith Garner says.