Reporting Results

Jessica Maddern wins LASA Village Manager of the Year

A hands on approach and diligence in responding to the concerns of residents are just some of the qualities of LASA Retirement Village Manager of the Year for 2019 Jessica Maddern.

Jessica is the Operations Manager of De Paul Manor Estate, a 79-unit village on the Gold Coast.

Since Jessica took on the role, the Gold Coast village has seen a huge improvement in resident satisfaction, largely due to her professional and friendly approach.

Jessica joined the village part-time as a student finishing her social work degree and took on her current role aged 24. ​

Being a young village manager was both an asset and a challenge – on one hand the residents trusted her, enjoyed her enthusiasm and were grateful for her IT skills. 

But in the early days, residents wrote letters of concern to the Parish and Bishop that she was too young for the role. 

Today however, resident engagement is her absolute priority.

We would also like to acknowledge and congratulate the following finalists:

  • Jack Greathead – Village Manager at Wesley Mission Qld’s Wheller on the Park in Brisbane – VMPD Program member.
  • Vanessa Nugent – Manager at Bolton Clarke’s Westhaven Retirement Village in Toowoomba – VMPD Program member.
  • Deborah Luscombe – Retirement Village Manager at Mt Eymard Retirement Community in Bowral.
  • Raylene Trewartha – Resident Liaison Manager at Good Shepherd Village in Mackay.

Jess will be joining us on the Village Management Professional Development program, as part of her reward. 


Things to watch

DCM Institute supports the Next Generation

Led by the inspirational Samantha Bowen, Principal Advisor, Leading Aged Services Australia is providing opportunities for the ‘Next Generation’ of the sector to connect with people their own age, share challenges, hear about great leadership and learn how we can all build the workplaces of the future.

DCM Institute supports this initiative as a way to attract and retain young people to build long-term careers in the sector.

If you have young people in your workplace we are encouraging you to join this movement.

Join one of the Next Gen Forums happening soon in your state: 

Adelaide – 30th October                
Tasmania – 11th November
Perth – 15th November                                  

Register Here


Key things to help you everyday

“Please do not give me CPR” — ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ requests in retirement living

Village operators should understand their obligations and potential liabilities in relation to ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ (‘DNR’) requests, being specific requests to withhold CPR if the need arises. 

These are advance directives – that is, decisions made in advance when a person is still competent to decide. 

They refer to decisions relating to future healthcare, and particularly refusal of treatment. 

Advance directives are based on the principle that everyone has the right to decide what happens to their body. Even life-saving medical treatment cannot lawfully be given without consent, and any touching of a person without consent is a civil battery (and possibly criminal assault). 

While not strictly necessary at common law (ie. law outside legislation), it is always recommended an advance directive is confirmed in writing. 

A recent coronial finding in Victoria also suggests that the DNR request applies to natural events (eg. a heart attack), and not to unnatural events (eg. an accident).

There is emerging confusion about the validity of advance directives that do not comply with the requirements of statutory schemes which exist across Australia (other than NSW and Tasmania) in relation to advance directives. Some key points to note are as follows:

1. With the possible exception of Queensland, the common law is preserved in all states and territories such that if a competent adult refuses medical treatment it should not be given.

2. The statutory schemes generally only apply to health providers and substitute decision-makers. Retirement villages continue to be governed by common law principles, however, if healthcare is provided (eg. co-located care) or registered health practitioners are employed in the retirement village, state/territory legislation may apply.

It is important retirement village operators are aware of their obligations under complex and varied state/territory laws relevant to them and their interplay with the common law. Any risks associated with advance directives may be mitigated through contractual terms as well as clear policies and procedures for residents and staff. 

For information or advice please contact Dr Melanie Tan (pictured) from Russell Kennedy on (03) 9609 1577 or Anita Courtney on (03) 8602 7211.  

Latest industry developments

DCM Institute is expanding

With over 200 Village Managers and professionals enrolled in the Village Management Professional Development program across the nation the DCM Institute community is also growing.

Results for the first half of the program have been outstanding with 200 participants declaring:

  • The program content as excellent.
  • The opportunity to interact with other Village Managers as excellent.
  • The ability to use our new skills and knowledge back in our villages as excellent.

The participants also shared that the Professional Development days delivered:

  • Peer to peer networking and support.
  • State-based legal presentations.
  • Retirement village industry specifics were the most useful components of the workshop days.

The enthusiasm, desire and commitment from these truly inspirational leaders in our sector has been wonderful to see, not to mention the friendships and connections. 

Our team at DCM Institute is growing too. Last month we welcomed Tania Kelly (pictured), a passionate retirement living professional who will be assisting our village professional community in their day to day roles. 

Tania has over 20 years’ experience working in leadership and operational management, 12 years in the aged care sector, and management and hands-on experience in 100 village portfolio.


What the research tells us

Residents desire dignity, respect and transparency from the retirement village industry — do you have policy that reflects this?

Over the past 18 months dignity, respect, fairness and transparency have been highlighted as key behaviours residents and regulators are seeking from the industry.

In December 2018 the Retirement Living Council (RLC) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA)launched the Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct.

Section A1.2 of The Code of Conduct details:-

‘In all our dealings with our current, potential and future residents, we will act with integrity, and in a professional, reasonable, fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner.’

In NSW as at 1 July this year the new Rules of Conduct for operators specifically refers to, ‘a higher standard of customer service to ensure that residents and prospective residents are treated with respect, dignity and fairness and improving awareness of elder abuse’.

To be ready to meet the Code of Conduct criteria or NSW legislative requirements, have you thought about developing a set of Village Values that might reflect the standards expected of your team and the wider Village Community? Or at the very least a Policy that outlines the expectations in relation to these matters for your team and contractors.

If you haven’t signed up to the Code of Conduct, you can do it here.

The Village Manager Professional Development Program Portal will host a number of example policies to assist meeting the Code of Conduct compliance. 


Key things to help you everyday

Village Vibe contributions

St Paul’s Lutheran Homes Hahndorf Retirement Village have just embarked on a new social calendar. 

This was their inaugural bus trip – now the bus is full every trip, to the picturesque Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens in the Adelaide Hills.   

A delicious picnic was prepared by the aged care kitchen and enjoyed by the group, along with lively banter and camaraderie.  We were entertained by Blue Wrens and the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot.


Things to watch

Send us your positive Village Vibe stories to share

It’s easy as a Village Manager to get distracted and focus on the activities we don’t necessarily enjoy! 

But we would love it if you would share your experiences with us about something positive that’s happened in your village – a positive Village Vibe!

Send us your story in 200 words and a photo and we’ll start building a virtual wall of great memories.

To get the ball rolling here’s one of mine above!

Some villagers pulling a funny stunt on me whilst having a formal photo shoot at the village.  No, the hats weren’t part of the shoot requests!

When I got these photos, I went home that day with the biggest smile and smile every time I remember the fun we shared as a community.


Things to watch

Let them be Free – a Home Exchange Policy

In Jane Fonda’s memoirs she talks about Facts, Films and Activism during her life. 

Her activism is thought provoking, especially this quote, “It’s hard to have a happy life if you don’t have meaning”.  

Over the years as a village professional I have experienced all sorts of requests from residents and whilst No is often an easy answer, I’ve had to pull myself up and say, “Why not?”

One such example comes to mind — a resident wanted to participate in a Home Exchange program.  My initial response was ‘no’, visitors need to be accompanied by a resident as in the contract.

But I thought of Jane Fonda’s quote: what if travelling and sharing their home gives a resident meaning and purpose? 

So rather than stick with ‘no’ I developed a Home Exchange Policy & Procedure for the village in consultation with the Resident Committee.

Some of the key considerations included:

  • Getting the requests in writing
  • The Exchange visitor was to be of similar demographic
  • No visit was to be more than a month
  • The visitor was to meet with the Village Manager and made familiar with the village rules.
  • A breach of village rules would see the visitor’s stay terminated with seven days’ notice
  • All insurances and costs were the responsibility of the resident
  • No rent shall be charged to the visitor
  • Resident was to return to reside in the home

I found out only a few months ago that this same resident at the age of 87 was still participating in Home Exchanges.

If you have residents that love to travel share with them this great new initiative – The Freebird Club.


Latest industry developments

Aged care resources at your fingertips

As a Village Manager part of our job is being the resource centre to assist residents and their families throughout their life journey.

I often get asked by Village Managers, “How do I help family and friends make decisions about a resident’s need for more services, or an aged care package?”

Whilst My Aged Care is the obvious place to start, I also like to provide a link to our own Aged Care 101 It offers additional resources like videos that explain in plain English, what can be a very complex process.
(It has over 40,000 visits a month now)

You can also look to referral groups like CareAbout.

Building a link to a retirement advisor who specialises in aged care is really valuable.

You can ask Aged Care Gurus for a qualified advisor in your area. 

Form great relationships with local home care providers so that when that question is asked by family and friends you have all the resources at your fingertips.  


What the research tells us

Where do we want to live in old age – 30% need to move?

Australia faces a massive challenge delivering suitable housing for our ageing population.

The country is expected to have nearly 9M over 55s by 2034, that’s just 15 years away.

Over 2400 Australians aged 55 and over, took part in a survey recently conducted by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute through focus groups in metropolitan and regional WA, NSW and VIC, including older Indigenous Australians, about their housing aspirations in later life.

It found housing meets the current needs of nine out of 10 older Australians. But only around 70% thought this housing met their longer-term aspirations, so the other 30% would be seeking to move.

Regardless of their current housing tenure, 80% of older Australians want to live in a home they own, no matter the type, size or location which offers security in later life.

So, where do we want to live in retirement?

  • Among those aged between 55 and 74, there was a strong aspiration to live in small regional towns.
  • Those aged 75 and over were more likely to indicate a preference for the inner suburbs of a capital city.
  • Few older Australians wanted to live in the CBD of a capital city.
  • And apparently size matters, with 50% of older Australians wanted to live in a house with three bedrooms.