Two in a row for Southland rest home

By Suzanne McKenzie | Posted: Tuesday October 29, 2019

Walmsley House rest home in Invercargill has officially exceeded the aged care sectors highest quality standards, for the second time running.

Raewyn Healey, Enliven Quality Manager for Presbyterian Support Southland said on Tuesday they had received confirmation from the Ministry of Health advising Walmsley House had achieved four-year certification, following a recent audit. This the second successive time the rest home has been awarded maximum renewal status - making it only one of two in the region to hold back-to-back four-year certifications.

All rest homes and aged residential care facilities in New Zealand are subject to audits and certification every one to four years to ensure they provide safe, appropriate care for residents and meet national standards set out in the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001. A spot, or ‘surveillance’ audit also occurs around the middle of the certification period, with certification length dependent upon how well the rest home performs against 50 standards and 101 criteria set by the ministry and the (local) District Health Board contract.

Mrs Healey said the standards were far from easy to attain which is why four-year certification for an aged care service provider was seen as excellent.

She said it was a robust procedure that had involved two independent auditors spending a day and half at Walmsley House in mid-August reviewing records, systems and policies; observing and meeting with staff, residents and family members; and assessing everything from building upkeep and medication protocols, to fall prevention and meal nutrition, infection control, adverse incident management, staff education and so on.

However, Mrs Healey said, attaining and maintaining the ‘gold standard’ level of care attested to in the audit report was not a day and a half endeavour - the achievement represented “365 days of hard work and ongoing commitment to best practice and betterment” by staff at Walmsley House.

“It is very satisfying for all involved and I know the staff are proud to have had official endorsement that they’re doing a great job”.

Walmsley House manager Jenifer de Jesus said it was pleasing to have achieved consistently high ratings over, what was effectively, an eight-year period.

She was particularly pleased the home had been awarded three ‘continuous improvement’ ratings – where all standards had been fully met and exceeded – in areas of service relating to good practice, staff education and waste management initiatives. Other successes include less trips to hospital, low staff turnover and high resident satisfaction.

Walmsley House is one of three Presbyterian Support Southland Enliven rest homes to hold 4-year certification. PSS Chief Executive John Prendergast attributed the success, in part at least, to
“a resident-centred approach to care and sustained investment in empowering staff through enabling technology and quality education and training programmes.”

Mr Prendergast said the fact that the rest home had held the accreditation - and therefore maintained the highest level of care - for two consecutive periods was a credit to Walmsley House staff who worked tirelessly and collaboratively to make incremental improvements to the services and care they provided, every day.

The Enliven rest home is centrally-located and provides a homely environment and personalised care for 31 residents.

Staff follow the Enliven philosophy which espouses the principles of caring, enabling and supporting the elderly to live rich, full lives. It recognises the importance of respect, independence, meaningful activity and enduring connections with, and to, family, friends, the wider community and nature.

Audit reports and summaries for all New Zealand aged care facilities and retirement villages are available on the Ministry of Health website.