Year-end interviews with aged care leaders: Sue Cooke – Anglicare Southern Queensland

Sue Cook, Chief Executive Officer, Anglicare Southern Queensland

As part of our end-of-year reporting, Inside Ageing is currently asking CEOs and leaders from across the aged care and retirement living space for their views on the year that just was and expectations for 2024. If you would like to share your views email our news desk:  

1. What were your highlights for 2023?

Where do we start?

This has been another busy year for staff at Anglicare Southern Queensland. As we transitioned through the pandemic and into the recovery phase, it has been great to see our operations have resumed to pre-COVID levels and once again, we’ve seen growth in the number of people that we have served.

We have made several key strategic changes to respond to coming regulatory changes and appointed two Chief Operating Officer positions, with a focus on Aged and Community Services, and Children, Youth and Families.

Nick Hansen moved to the position of Chief Operating Officer, of Aged and Community Services and our Executive Team welcomed Jason Ware as Chief Operating Officer, of Children, Youth and Families.

We were pleased to complete development works and re-open the $19 million redevelopment of our Meilene residential aged care home in Bundaberg. The works provided an additional 36 rooms including a 24-room Memory Support Unit, and significant refurbishment across the home. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our construction and building partners, as well as our dedicated workforce for realising this ambitious project.

This follows the announcement of our St Martin’s residential aged care home being recognised as highly commended in the Inside Ageing Future of Ageing Awards for our Specialist Dementia Care Program.

These results are a testament to our ongoing commitment to providing the highest level of care and resident outcomes.

Additionally, we were thrilled to celebrate 40 years of operation of our Gold Coast Abri Residential Aged Care home in June this year.

We welcomed the Federal Government’s 15% pay increase for aged care workers, which we have passed on to all eligible employees.

Importantly, we started to implement new initiatives ahead of the upcoming national Aged Care Reform, including the implementation of a Consumer Advisory Body, enabling us to seek and truly understand the voice of the client to ensure our services continue to appropriately meet the needs of our valued residents.

We remain a significant provider of home and community services, providing a diverse range of personalised care and support to over 31,400 Queenslanders.

We were thrilled to be recognised as a leading service provider and were once again awarded as one of Australia’s most trusted brands in the Readers Digest Trusted Brands as well as ASCA Provider of the Year (Queensland).

I couldn’t be prouder of our 3,000 staff who responded with care and compassion to assist more than 48,300 clients, residents, children, young people, and families supported through our services this past year.

2. What are you most looking forward to in 2024?

There are a lot of things to look forward to in 2024 including the work that is happening behind the scenes with the proposed reforms to in-home aged care which aim to better service the needs of all older Australians now and into the future.

We have already made several changes to prepare for the reforms, including improvements to our clinical care governance and the implementation of Client Advisory Boards to better capture and utilise the Voice of our Clients. 

I have recently been appointed as an Elected Director for the Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) for the next three years. This is a very exciting opportunity and I look forward to leading, advocating, and providing support, advice and guidance to ensure a high-performing and sustainable aged care sector, so that older Australians can live their best lives.

We have just released our Strategic Plan for 2023-2025 which reaffirms our commitment and focus in four key areas, including residential aged care, in-home care, work to alleviate the housing crisis and building and fostering our workforce. We look forward to implementing the refreshed strategy in line with our values of love, care, hope and humility.

3. What books will you be reading over the summer holiday break? 

With less than a week to go until Christmas, I am looking forward to having some downtime with family and I have a couple of books waiting to be read, including Ikigai by Hector Garcia, then Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray by Anita Heiss and Lola in the Mirror by Trent Dalton.


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