Nowadays, specialty facilities for retired and elderly people are commonplace. The world at large has identified a need to deliver care to the older members of our societies and huge efforts have been made to ensure high levels of satisfaction within those communities. However, this was not always the case. Some visionary individuals first established the foundations of what we now call care and rest homes and retirement villages.
Peter Woodnorth and Michael Gresson, for instance, were instrumental in the development of Timaru’s care homes. In 1957, they helped establish the Anglican-Methodist South Canterbury Glenwood Home Trust Board as a direct response to concerns raised in the community about the lack of local facilities for the elderly. The Board set out raising funds and preparing plans for the construction of a new modern rest home on what was then the western boundary of Timaru . Glenwood slowly rose from that foundation to become the vibrant care community it is today.
Throughout Glenwood’s long history its ideals based on the Christian values of love, respect and inclusiveness have always remained the same. In 1964, Glenwood Home opened its doors to 20 residents. A few years later, Glenwood added a new downstairs wing that could host up to 8 more people. Then, in the early 1970s, the Glenwood retirement village was built consisting of 17 one bedroom cottages designed with independent living in mind. Those cottages were located to the north of the rest home. Finally, in 2005, there was a major multi-million dollar redevelopment that completely transformed Glenwood.
More specifically, the redevelopment added two new wings consisting of 16 rooms with en-suites in addition to a new reception and administration area, staff offices, additional service rooms, a sheltered enclosed courtyard, and ‘Sunshine Alley’, a sunny annexed lounge. Existing rooms were also refurbished and extended in size with en-suites added. More importantly, the two new wings were built to meet hospital-level standards. As a future-proofing strategy
Recently Glenwood has applied for and been granted a Ministry of Health license to provide hospital level care. Plans are also in the process of being prepared to convert the downstairs wing to a dementia unit. The Glenwood Board recognises the importance of offering on-site continuity of care for resident’s changing needs. Since Glenwood was established, the continuous support of the residents to have the best quality of life has been the number one priority of the Board and Glenwood’s staff.
Focusing on the residents
As Glenwood is a not-for-profit organisation, its income is diverted back into the home and retirement village. The Glenwood Anglican-Methodist South Canterbury Trust is still responsible for Glenwood’s operations and they have done a remarkable job throughout the years. The organisation’s founding values are all about loving, caring, and respecting people. These values have been extended into the general philosophy of Glenwood which means a resident-focused approach, an emphasis on independence and individual choice, and the provision of the highest levels of care.
One of the things that separates Glenwood from similar organisations is that they believe in making a true home for the residents. The staff works hard to ensure that the environment is welcoming, warm, and secure. Every resident has to feel like they are in their own home, a place where they can meet with their family and friends and engage in every activity that they want. Everyone is treated with respect and kindness no matter where they come from. To that end, the staff always aims to achieve the highest standards possible.
“What makes us different from everybody else is that we are a community, we are homely. Everybody knows everybody. As a Facility Manager, you are out there on the floor, meeting with the residents and their families. It’s very important to us that we create a whole-family environment so that we can offer the care that residents need; a loving and supporting environment where they can feel comfortable alongside their families as well”, says Donna Coxshall, Glenwood’s previous Facility Manager.
Adhering to high standards of care
Donna talked to us about the hard work she and her team went through in order to standardize the facilities and bring everything up to modern standards. Though it’s a not-for-profit organization, Glenwood still has to adhere to the same rules, regulations, and codes of practice that other similar facilities operate under. The organisation undergoes monthly and annual inspections and preparing for certification can be quite challenging. After all, they need to make sure that everything is right for the residents and that the best services are always provided. A small but relevant example is the installation of heat pumps in every room so that every resident can adjust the temperature to their own comfort levels.
Furthermore, since a considerable portion of the funding comes from government bodies, Glenwood always needs to be able to prove that the right services are being provided. The criteria for retirement homes and villages are quite strict and Glenwood has to follow everything to the letter. Care plans have to be developed in a certain time frame, staff have to be trained at a certain level, and all systems must follow along the same path with nothing falling behind.
“At this stage and for probably the next two years the Board is focused on the further development of hospital-level care and the dementia unit. Delivering care at that stage will mean employing more staff, having registered nurses on-site 24/7 and investing more into training for the staff so that they can provide the care that’s required. Investing back into the staff is something that the residents benefit from as well”, explains Donna.
Supporting and celebrating Glenwood
Thankfully, the organisation also receives support from other sources. Volunteering and donations are incredibly important and everyone at Glenwood benefits from them. The most prominent body of volunteers, of course, are the Friends of Glenwood. To start with, they regularly fundraise in order to purchase items that will make life more comfortable for the residents. They are all about improving quality of life so they also manage other activities. For example, they hold a mid-winter dinner where everyone from Glenwood is invited to participate in the celebrations. Their weekly Friday evening Happy Hour is also popular.
Though Glenwood has not entered into any specific awards or recognition ceremonies, the feedback from the residents and their families is positive across the board. Glenwood has regular meetings with the residents and their immediate family while they additionally conduct surveys with the residents, their families, as well as the staff. When an issue is identified they do their best to amend it and make things better for everyone.
The Glenwood organisation values its modest size because it allows for a close-knit community which everyone feels a part of. An important point is that individuality is lauded and celebrated. Glenwood recognizes that there is a need to focus on the spiritual, cultural, mental, physical, and social needs of an individual as well as their welfare. For example, Reverend Sue Dickson, Glenwood’s Chaplain, meets with residents on a daily basis and helps those from different faith backgrounds to stay connected to their communities.
Furthermore, the organisation promotes hobbies of all kinds. There are daily activities which residents are free to enjoy while they are also encouraged to follow whatever other interest they may have such as music and art. Some residents may wish to keep their own vehicle and go out into the city while others may prefer to stay inside the community and enjoy the company of their fellows. Whatever the case may be, Glenwood assists and supports every decision within reasonable standards.
Aside from the fact that residents are strongly encouraged to stay active and pursue their interests on their own, Glenwood also provides them with individualized plans which they may or may not choose to follow. As far as their welfare is concerned, the organisation develops personalized care plans designed around each individual resident. Furthermore, there is a general weekly activities program, which each resident can participate in as they choose.
Looking towards the future
Currently, Glenwood has no plans for further expansions but that may all change in the future as nearby land becomes available and more affordable. Right now, the focus is on the continuous development of the service and the staff. The goal is to be a vibrant community for a lot more years and to keep providing the same high level of care to the residents. And finally, Glenwood is committed to continue to support the local community and contribute to the economy by hiring local contractors and by purchasing from local suppliers.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: A not-for-profit organization maintaining rest homes, hospital-level care, and a retirement village
WHERE: Anglican-Methodist South Canterbury Glenwood Home Trust Board, 6 Glenwood Avenue, Timaru , 7910 NZ