Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews opened a $30m extension to Ryman Healthcare’s Nellie Melba Retirement Village, making it the largest full continuum of care village in Australia.
Mr Andrews and Ryman Healthcare Australia CEO Cameron Holland cut the ribbon to officially open the new 41-apartment complex in Wheelers Hill.
Ryman, a New Zealand-based company that expanded to Victoria in 2014, builds and operates villages where independent retirement living and aged care services are fully integrated on one site.
This ‘continuum of care’ model has been commonplace in New Zealand since it was pioneered by Ryman in the 1980s but is only in its infancy in Australia.
Ryman villages offer independent retirement living, assisted living in serviced apartments, and a care centre on site providing low care, high care and specialist dementia care. The company also provides its own home care packages to residents within the village.
Mr Andrews said: “It's a point of pride for us [in Victoria] to have such an innovative model – this ageing in place reimagined, the continuum of care – a stunning example of what’s possible if you support people in their local community and meet their needs and provide a pathway so that their needs as they change can be met.
“[This model’s] best form is the Ryman Healthcare form. This business provides the most stunning example of that model of care and it only operates in the great state of Victoria.
Ryman Australia CEO Cameron Holland (left) and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
“This is not my first visit, and it won’t be my last because it is a stunning example of what can be achieved if you run a good business and at the centre of that business is a sense of purpose, good values, and a sense that your clients are part of your family.
“It’s not by mistake that this is a really sought after option in our local community because it’s simply the best.”
The expansion of Nellie Melba comes as the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS) announced it is undertaking a research study into the potential health benefits of continuum of care villages for older Australians.
Professor David Brown from UTS’ Ageing Research Collaborative (UARC) said the research project will focus on the care and financial outcomes of the continuum of care model, and examine what barriers there are in the Australian aged care landscape to its implementation.
“Older people in Australia and their carers have great difficulty navigating their way along the care and ageing journey,” Prof. Brown said.
“This is mostly due to the highly fragmented nature of the aged care system and the complexity of the aged care transition points, such as retirement living to residential aged care, which often occur in times of crisis. This situation makes for an often costly and traumatic experience.”
The exterior of the new Mimi building at Nellie Melba Retirement Village.
Prof. Brown said embracing an integrated approach to the delivery of aged care was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Ryman Healthcare Australia CEO Cameron Holland said the expansion of its Nellie Melba village underscored the huge demand for continuum of care villages on this side of the Tasman.
“Australia’s aged care system is in crisis and a new approach is needed if we’re going to fix it.
“People moving into a Ryman village enjoy an active, independent lifestyle in a vibrant retirement community, but have the peace of mind in knowing that if their health needs change they can be looked after right where they are.
“While the benefits of the continuum of care villages are obvious, we’re really excited that UTS will be doing a rigorous analysis of how they can positively impact an individual’s health and wellbeing.”