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A new level of diversification TLC is reducing its reliance on Government funding

In 2014, TLC Healthcare (TLC) announced its $120 million investment strategy that changed the face of aged care in Australia. Over the ensuing four years, TLC has delivered all the elements of that strategy, and is now the leading innovator in the aged care market. Given the amount of development that TLC has delivered in the last four years, 2019 might be the opportune time to take a break, but their CEO, Lou Pascuzzi, has big plans for the future.

“2019 through to 2022 will be an even more exciting time for TLC than the last four years. We will be embarking on two new developments in the Melbourne suburbs of Mordialloc and Ivanhoe East. We will also be diversifying the revenue streams of TLC into commercial cafés and health clubs. In addition to our existing medical centres, these businesses will be another way that TLC can reduce its reliance on Government funding. The current value of aged care providers listed on the ASX demonstrates that an organization that relies solely on Government funding is extremely vulnerable.

“In 2018 we operationalized 303 residential aged care places and opened an additional 3 medical centres, which delivered the final elements of our integrated healthcare strategy. Our new iconic homes in Fitzroy North on the fringe of the Melbourne CBD and Armstrong Creek between Geelong and Torquay, Clifton Views and Warralily Gardens, opened in August and September 2018, and their current occupancy rates have already exceeded our expectations. The launch of our 10 level Clifton Views home received national coverage and set the standard for high-rise residential aged care in Australia. Now TLC has set a new benchmark for aged care, we are ready to take on some exciting challenges.

“The other major element of our strategy was to integrate medical centres into our aged care homes. I am delighted that we are now able to provide quality primary care to the residents at all our homes and their local communities, with the exception of our Homestead Estate home which will open next year. The rate of hospitalizations of our residents has almost halved in just the last 12 months and engagement of ambulance services has more than halved. Not only is TLC Primary Care now a major commercial contributor to TLC, it is also having a direct positive impact on the health of our aged care residents.”

Creating facilities at their locations for both aged care residents and the wider community has long been a strategy for TLC, but they will be providing an even wider range of services at their new location in the Melbourne suburb of Mordialloc. Due to be completed in 2021, this bold new development, located opposite Woodlands Golf Club, will be unlike anything else in the country. The facility will incorporate an aged care home plus a medical centre, café, and health club that will be open to the general public.

What makes this development unique is that the medical centre, café and health club will all be commercial enterprises in their own right. These services will be accessible to the local community on a fee-for-service basis, giving TLC several new levels of community engagement.

Lou Pascuzzi is excited about this groundbreaking development “Mordialloc will be the first project that this level of publicly accessible services has been integrated into an aged care home, truly deinstitutionalizing aged care. In addition to the 150 aged care rooms, there will be an exclusive community membership to the commercial health club. The state-of-the-art health club will include the latest technology in fitness equipment, personalised training and a 25m indoor heated swimming pool.

“We are currently working on the interior designs for the development, and they are looking fantastic. Once again, this home will be of a standard that will appeal to the next generation. The design will channel natural light into all areas of the building, complimenting the use of natural stone and timbers to give the home a modern feel.”

In addition to the Mordialloc location, TLC is also developing another site in the Melbourne suburb of Ivanhoe East. The development is conveniently located on Lower Heidelberg Road with sweeping views of the CBD skyline.

“The Ivanhoe development will be completed in 2022, and will offer very similar services to Mordialloc, including the commercial medical centre, café and health club. The views from the Ivanhoe site across the Melbourne skyline will be spectacular. The building is being designed to maximize the views of the Melbourne CBD and the Dandenong Ranges, whilst being sympathetic to the personality of the local area.

“Both of these new homes will offer people the unique opportunity to live in a vibrant community, not just an aged care home. The interaction between visitors and the residents is vital for building community engagement. I know from seeing the smiles on the faces of our residents when the local community visits our homes that we are on a winner.”

TLC’s new developments will include commercial facilities that are open to the local community including:
• on-site medical centres
• state-of-the-art health clubs with 25 meter swimming pools
• cafés serving light meals and refreshments

Residents of TLC’s new homes will also enjoy the unique range of services that they have come to expect at TLC:
• spacious private rooms with adjoining ensuites
• the latest safety technology including sensory flooring, emergency call buttons and CCTV
• virtual reality cinemas
• hair and beauty salons
• private dining rooms
• beautifully landscaped outdoor areas
• dedicated wellbeing/medical centres
• luxurious interior décor and design
• 24-hour care from registered nurses supported by enrolled nurses and a personal care team
• on-staff physiotherapists, dieticians and podiatrists

TLC is continuing to upgrade their existing sites with the completion of their brownfield projects at Wallington near Geelong and Whittlesea north of Melbourne. Lou Pascuzzi and his team are working to complete these projects in 2019, which will result in the operationalization of a further 215 residential aged care places and the opening of an additional medical centre.

“Works are well underway on Homestead Estate at Wallington just outside Geelong. When this redevelopment is completed, it will be the largest aged care home in Victoria. We are redirecting the public road that currently divides our two homes, and connecting them to form a major aged and health care precinct.

“Homestead Estate will offer all of the state-of-the-art facilities, modern design and quality décor that people have come to expect at a TLC home. The current residents are very excited about the development and can’t wait to see their new living, dining, health care and wellbeing areas.

“Speaking of excited residents, the new hydrotherapy pool, gymnasium and medical centre opened at Sunlight in Whittlesea last year, much to the delight of everyone. Construction has also begun on the 90-bed extension to Sunlight, which will include new lounge, dining and outdoor areas, a new hair and beauty salon, virtual reality cinema, and activity centres.

“There is nothing more satisfying than seeing all of these long-term development projects come to completion. TLC’s willingness to invest in our facilities, has resulted in a marked increase in our occupancy rates since 2014. Enhancing our existing facilities and building new homes has been a great investment for TLC” says Pascuzzi.

Aside from new developments, TLC is also changing the aged care landscape in other ways. TLC’s Enterprise Agreement (EA) has been approved by the Fair Work Commission, and in an unprecedented move for the aged care industry, it spans 5 years and it contains prescribed staffing ratios.

Lou Pascuzzi, who has long been an advocate of staff ratios says, “I expect that our EA will come as a bit of a shock to some people in the industry who have lobbied against staff ratios for many years. The truth of the matter is, we know exactly how many staff are required to care for a resident, and we are more than happy to commit to those numbers.

“Any provider who says that staff ratios in aged care are not necessary is clearly not listening to consumers. Residents are investing a great deal of money in this industry, and they deserve to receive the very best of care.

“The staffing levels in our EA have been developed in consultation with the Health Workers Union and Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, who have been great supporters. Our staff voted overwhelmingly in favour of the EA, proving that staff ratios have the support of both consumers and the people who work tirelessly to care for them. The aged care industry needs to start listening to their staff and consumers if we are going to redeem our image and attract quality people to our workforce.”

In another industry first, WorkSafe Victoria has recently certified TLC as the only aged care provider in the state eligible to self-insure for Workers Compensation. Self-insurance provides certified employers the option of managing and bearing the costs and risks of their own workers' compensation claims. Eligible employers must undergo a rigorous application and audit process of their health and safety management systems to achieve self-insurance, which endured 4 years for TLC.

“For an organisation of our size, achieving self-insurance has been a monumental task. Over the last four years, TLC has done a great deal of work to ensure that our health and safety management systems were at the level we needed to apply for and be successfully granted self-insurance.

“After extensive auditing by WorkSafe Victoria, TLC can be certain that our system is as robust as some of the largest organisations in the country. All staff have been engaged in the self-insurance process and have been instrumental in identifying risks, improving processes and ensuring compliance.

“Our residents and their families can be sure that TLC has some of the safest workplaces in the country, and that our staff are actively engaged in ensuring they stay that way.”

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