A new approach to rehabilitation in aged care


This article is part of our showcase of the 2019 Future of Ageing Awards. Opal Care and Concentric’s partnership to deliver improved health 
services to the community was the winning entry for Reablement / Restorative Care.  

Project Overview

Opal Care and Concentric Rehabilitation Centre formed a partnership in 2017 to co-locate Concentric’s clinics within Opal Care homes across Australia.

Concentric offers Opal residents, as well as the general public, access to on-site, high-quality privately funded allied health care services including Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology, Occupational Therapy, Podiatry, Speech Therapy, Dietetics, Psychology Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology and Occupational Therapy.

How it came together

Angeline Violi, Director of Concentric Healthcare Services, was prompted to act when her grandmother sadly passed away due to inadequate rehabilitation following a hip fracture sustained at an aged care home. Violi’s grandmother was discharged prematurely under the assumption that a contract physiotherapist would work on her.

Due to an unfortunate combination of insufficient time, resources and funding model constraints, Violi’s grandmother did not receive the services required to correctly rehabilitate her and she subsequently died of related complications. Violi’s personal loss motivated her to explore better rehabilitation solutions.

At the same time, Opal was looking at ways to offer residents greater choice and better cater to peoples’ different preferences. Opal had found that traditional physiotherapy models of care within residential aged care focused on pain management, instead of rehabilitation and reablement.

What compounded this problem was a lack of alternatives to the traditional government funded services. Both businesses were looking for a better solution so when they met up in June 2016, the scene was set for a mutually beneficial partnership.

After more than 12 months of planning that involved extensive stakeholder engagement, starting with the executive teams of both partners, and then expanding to include clinicians and aged care residents, the partners developed a service offering which was both economically and clinically viable.

The first Opal and Concentric Rehabilitation Centre was opened at Opal Cardinal Freeman in Ashfield in September 2017.

When a resident moves into an Opal Care home, they meet with a Concentric physiotherapist who performs an initial assessment. Together, the resident and physiotherapist determine the best program to suit the resident’s individual needs and reablement goals.

Opal residents are offered a package for a set price that entitles them to a choice of one of three programs. This includes a mix of one-on-one and group exercise programs individually prescribed to meet their needs.

Outcomes

The first goal of the partnership was to pilot the inaugural Concentric Rehabilitation Centre in Opal Cardinal Freeman in Sydney’s Inner West.

The pilot was a success and four more clinics have been established across Australia with a special focus on managing conditions of ageing for seniors and people requiring specialist management of musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiovascular and metabolic conditions.

Two years on, Opal Cardinal Freeman has over 60 per cent of residents participating in a regular treatment programs. The centres in Opal Bankstown and Opal Carine have 70 per cent resident participation. Opal Winston Hills opened in August 2019 and is building solidly.

Due to the success of the co-located centres, Opal has committed to including in-place reablement centres in 20 homes currently in the development pipeline.

What is Opal Care and Concentric’s ethos towards being an industry leader?

Opal and Concentric are absolutely aligned in our values and care philosophy. We also share an entrepreneurial mindset which constantly drives us to find new ways to enable better quality of life for our elders. We care deeply about bringing positivity and possibility into our elders’ lives and this is reflected in our unique service delivery, providing elders with access to high quality reablement and restorative care beyond more traditional services offered in aged care environments. We deliver an evidence-based methodology through clinical research, which is important to us as thought leaders.

What advice do you have for other providers regarding service transformation?

Always keep an open mind to what’s possible in aged care. Have a strong bias to action. Strategy is important but it’s how you bring your culture and your values to bear that will differentiate your customer experience and care outcomes.

What does winning this award mean to your organisation?

Sector recognition is useful as a way to amplify the many wonderful advancements happening in aged care. The greatest reward for us is the wins our residents have – increasing their mobility, improving their balance, regaining their independence – our residents outcomes are our reason for being.

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