A new era for Whyalla aged care services – Helping Hand

A new era for Whyalla aged care services

Helping Hand Aged Care has entered in to a Management Agreement with Kindred Living in Whyalla, effective from 30 November 2021.

Helping Hand will work with the board of Kindred Living to ensure continuity of aged care services in the Whyalla region with the intention of integrating services in to Helping Hand within twelve months.

Announcing the management agreement, Helping Hand CEO, Chris Stewart said the move had the support of the Australian Government and the full commitment of Helping Hand and operator Kindred Living.

Kindred Living services include two residential care homes with 100 residents; eleven retirement living units; almost a hundred home care clients, and a workforce of 270.

“Over the past few months, Helping Hand has been working with the Australian Government and Kindred Living to develop a plan to take over management of the Whyalla aged care services provider to ensure continuity of service to some of the most vulnerable people in the Whyalla community,” Mr Stewart said.

“Many aged care organisations in regional areas are feeling the pressure of workforce shortages and increased regulatory requirements, with the result that they are reducing services, ceasing operation or transferring management responsibility to larger and more resourced organisations.”

Helping Hand Board Chair Professor Brenda Wilson AM said the decision reflected Helping Hand’s commitment to sustainable growth in regional communities and expanded the existing home care services delivered by Helping Hand across the Eyre Peninsula.

“The board of Kindred Living – and, in fact the wider Whyalla community – wish to ensure the continuity of aged care services in the region and so has decided to find a suitable new manager,” Prof. Wilson said.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to support one of South Australia’s most important regional communities. This is firmly aligned with our mission as a substantial not-for-profit service provider.”

Kindred Living Chairperson Tim Weiss welcomed the relationship with Helping Hand.

“I am proud to see the legacy of this organisation, which started in 1968, be able to continue under the leadership of a values-driven provider. Helping Hand is a respected provider of Home Care services in Whyalla and has a history of becoming the custodian of other regional aged care homes and services in Port Pirie, Jamestown and Clare. This is a positive outcome for our community and we look forward to supporting a smooth transition,” Mr Weiss said.

Mr Stewart said Helping Hand would take full management responsibility under a formal management agreement, initially reporting to the board of Kindred Living on the management of the Whyalla services.

Helping Hand will:

  • ensure the continued safety and care of residents and clients
  • provide an executive manager to lead local operations
  • deploy and allocate appropriate resources to ensure high quality service delivery, and
  • ensure regulatory compliance while returning the organisation to financial stability.

Over the coming months, Helping Hand will work closely with the Kindred Living board, local management team, staff, residents, clients, their families, and the Australian Government to ensure a successful process of management handover.

Subject to satisfactory achievements in several key areas, Helping Hand intends to take full ownership of Kindred Living including the residential care homes, community services operations and staff. Integration is planned within the next twelve months with minimal disruption to care and service delivery.

“While Annie Lockwood Court recently ceased operations, we are committed to ensuring we can meet the needs of ageing communities in Whyalla for decades to come,” Mr Stewart said.

“There are no immediate plans to re-open Annie Lockwood Court. Our focus is on the care delivery for residents and clients, and the stability of the current operations and workforce.”

Mr Stewart said at least 12 per cent of the Whyalla population was now aged over 70, with a significant percentage of over 65-year-olds also requiring assistance with self-care, mobility and communication – creating a significant and growing need for enhanced aged care.

Helping Hand already provides home care services across the Lower North, Barossa Valley, Mid North, Yorke Peninsula and Eyre Peninsula – coordinated through community offices located in Clare, Jamestown, Port Pirie and Port Lincoln. Helping Hand also has residential care homes in Clare, Port Pirie and Jamestown.

Established in 1953 and part of the UnitingCare Australia network, Helping Hand is a not-for-profit organisation, supporting 7,000 older people and employing 1,900 staff across South Australia.

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