Lyndoch Living's new acting chief executive is rebuilding the organisation from the ground up in a bid to restore the quality and reputation of the embattled aged care service.
Ted Rayment took over from the previous acting CEO Jamie Brennan one week ago but said "it feels like it's been a month".
Mr Rayment, who has signed a three-month contract, said it was essential to "get as much done in the shortest possible time, both within and outside organisation".
"It's important to be able to deliver quickly to show change is happening and to get people on board. That means getting the staff and residents on board because they come first but it also means getting the community back on board," he said.
Lyndoch has endured a torrent of criticism in recent months with aged care audits finding wide-ranging non-compliance, Worksafe issuing notices of improvement, former staff condemning the workplace culture, resident family members raising serious questions about care, and the local state politician calling for the dismissal of the CEO and then the board, echoing a petition lodged in parliament that recorded more than 2200 signatures.
Mr Rayment said the organisation had completely overhauled its executive structure with four new nurse unit managers (NUM) giving care staff a clinical lead to report to. He also said a temporary director of nursing (DON) would start on Monday.
"I told the board I wasn't coming unless there was a DON," Mr Rayment said. "The NUMs need a clinical leader to come to with their questions."
He said the previous structure was basically non-functional. "Not only did the NUMs not have someone to refer to, there weren't enough of them to cover the different services."
Since long-time CEO Doreen Power went on leave last month, Lyndoch has recruited 40 new staff and Mr Rayment said he was working his way through the 41-item action plan to remedy the failures identified by the aged care watchdog.
He has also brought in a new fatigue management plan and electronic roster in response to the Worksafe notices.
Mr Rayment said he believed the new employees had brought Lyndoch back above the minimum aged care staffing requirement but there was a long way to go considering occupancy across its services was 71 per cent.
"It's not as hard to meet the staffing levels when all the beds aren't full, and there's nil on the waiting list," he said.
He said the critically low occupancy rate, which hammers Lyndoch's bottom line, was one reason he was racing to make changes and prove it to the public.
"That occupancy rate isn't going to change just because of my arrival but one thing drives another. Get the culture right and there's trust in the organisation then people will want to come. People will start picking Lyndoch again," he said.
Mr Rayment said Mr Brennan had singled out Lyndoch's workplace culture as an issue that "really needed addressing". "From my experience you'll find there are people in any organisation who need more guidance to ensure they deal well with others."
He said he would thoroughly investigate Lyndoch's recent past.
"We need to work out what went wrong so that we can ensure it never happens again," Mr Rayment said. He said Lyndoch would share the results with the public.
"I want to be honest and open, because that way we can show that we are making progress."
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