Chief Executive Officer's Annual Report 2015

Friday 4, December 2015

As I write this report our world again appears to be in turmoil. Uncertainty reigns, stock markets around the world are in decline, hundreds of thousands of refugees are moving across Europe seeking a better and safer environment in which to live, and we now have our fourth Prime Minister in just over two years.

In comparison the events that have occurred at LHI over the past 12 months may appear unrelated to world and national events, and somewhat insignificant, but these are the events that have had a greater impact on our day to day lives at LHI, and upon which we should reflect and again count our many blessings.

In this, my twenty-second annual report, I will again record just some of the many and varied events, and challenges, that have occurred here at LHI during the 2014/2015 year,

There have however been three very significant events that have occurred during the past twelve months that have impacted on our community and deserve special comment.  These are:

  • The latest in the enormous range of ongoing Government changes to aged care
  • The December 2014 Accreditation Outcomes, and
  • The Glynde Community Centre development

There is also a fourth significant which I will mention later in my report.

Ongoing Government Changes to Aged Care

By the end of the last financial year (2013/14), the full impact of the dramatic changes to the Australian residential aged care were very apparent, with very significant increases in accommodation, care and daily living costs being charged to eligible Residents.

By the end of the 2014/15 year (the end of June 2015) the additional cost burden was also apparent to those who became eligible recipients of Home Care Packages services. The subtle introduction of these higher charges only being applicable to new Resident admissions, combined with the total changes to the technical language used in all areas of aged care, the introduction of the ‘Myagedcare Portal’, the ‘means-testing’ by Centrelink, Government technology failures, a complete change to the familiar aged care terminology, as well as the complete failure of the Government’s  promised ‘public education programme’, all helped to add to the confusion and misinformation within the community. The cynic in me says that all of these issues, when combined, have suited the Government’s purpose, in being able to keep the public focus off of the momentous and questionable changes that have taken place. 

Much of the Government’s  aged care policy (and it is a fact that it does not matter which party is in Government – they will all face the same predicament) is predicated on the demographic fact that the number of people aged 75 years and over will increase by approximately 4 million between 2012 and 2060. In my report last year I gave an example of the significance of the demographic changes that are occurring.  In 2012, there was approximately one person aged 100 years old or more for every 100 babies born that year.  By 2060, there will be 25 people over 100 years of age for every 100 babies born, and by 2099, there will be more people over 100 years of age than babies born in that year.

Last year I also reported that at a recent National Aged Care Alliance meeting that I had attended, we were advised that the then Federal Treasurer had announced that $55bn will be ‘taken out of the health budget over the following 3 years’. At the same meeting, it was also reported that Australians already pay more for their health costs (as a proportion of household income) than in any other wealthy country.

The new ‘Turnbull government’ is unlikely to make any significant changes to the general direction of aged care policy; however we are very disappointed that the position of Minister for Ageing and Disability has now been abandoned, and responsibility for the Ageing portfolio wholly transferred to the Minister for Social Services (whose responsibilities also now include Families, Housing, Social Services, Aged Care and Disability).

I also reported last year that the Abbott Government had just announced, with only one month’s notice, that it was withdrawing the ‘Aged Care Dementia Supplement’, a payment introduced by the previous Labour Government to help defray the cost of additional services for Residential aged care clients who suffer from higher levels of dementia. The withdrawal of this special funding led to a reduction in funding for LHI of $220,000 per year. I said then that, following significant lobbying by providers, and particularly the National Aged Care Alliance, the (then) Minister had agreed to consider an alternative funding system for those suffering from severe dementia. Regrettably the funding was withdrawn; however the proposed replacement service (universally perceived by providers to be a derisory ‘flying-squad’ of dementia advisors) has still not been introduced. Thankfully, I am proud to say that the LHI Board unanimously agreed to maintain the same level of services for those affected by dementia and has since further reaffirmed that commitment for the current 2015/16 year. Obviously this decision has, and will, impact on LHI’s financial results for both of the years.

Recognising the very obvious preference for our Residents to remain in their own homes wherever possible, last year I advised you that LHI had applied for additional licences to be able to provide the higher levels of Home Care Packages, to help avoid the current situation of our village Residents having to request other ‘aged care organisations’ to provide their care in the homes, because LHI was only ‘licensed’ to provide packages at the two lowest care levels. Regrettably, our application was again unsuccessful, with most of the government’s allocations being given to very large community and for-profit providers. Undeterred, we will again apply for additional ‘High Care’ level packages this year.

One small piece of good news during the year was that the (then) Minister for Ageing and Disability announced that from early in 2017, the process of applying for Home Care ‘licences’ by Providers, will cease and be replaced by a system that will enable recipients of services to choose their own service provider. This should mean that LHI village Residents will, in future, be able to nominate LHI as their provider, regardless of the level of care to which they are entitled.

2014 Accreditation Outcomes

The second of the significant events that I wish to mention, is that last December, both Hope Valley and Glynde Aged Care Facilities achieved all 44 required quality outcomes, following extensive audits by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency. Both LHI facilities were re-accredited for the current maximum accreditation period of 3 years. This outcome is a testament to the dedication of our staff, who commit themselves to achieving the highest possible level of service at all times.

At the accreditation ‘Exit Interviews’ the auditors commented on the many excellent quality initiatives that they had observed during their visits, as well as the excellent feedback they had received from LHI Residents, families and staff.

Glynde Community Centre Project

The third event in the LHI year under review was the significant ‘headway’ made in progressing the concept work on the proposed Glynde Community Centre project.

Last year I reported that the St Andrews congregation had kindly and generously decided to transfer the ‘title’ of the original ‘hall property’ to LHI, thereby facilitating the building of the much anticipated new Community Centre.

Craig Vale (Arkvale Architects) has been appointed as the project architect and Craig, together with our Town Planning and Cost Management consultants, attended several Board planning meetings during the year.

Several consultation meetings were also held with the St Andrews congregation representatives, as well as Resident Committee representatives, RSL members and also staff, to listen to their ideas and needs in relation to the proposed building.

The resulting plans have recently been presented at a series of meetings of the various stake-holder groups, and they have received universal approval. As I write this report the detailed Planning Approval Application has been submitted to Norwood Payneham and St Peters Council. If all goes to plan (which I must say would be quite unusual in these processes) we are anticipating completing and occupying our new Community Centre by August 2017.

An outcome of particular note from the design process that has been undertaken is that we have been able to increase our on-site car parking by 50%. It is hoped that when the work is completed, the additional car parking will relieve some of the congestion on the local roads in and around our Glynde facility.

We wish to particularly acknowledge the support of St Andrews congregation, the LHI Board and especially the members of the LHI Board Property Committee, for diligently ensuring that the project could become a reality.

Work Health Safety (WHS)

The success resulting from the introduction of the new ‘Retro Paid Loss’ scheme at LHI, during 2013, continues to benefit the whole organisation, through significantly fewer workplace injuries, greater awareness of safety issues amongst staff, and improved financial outcomes. The new scheme was necessary to reduce the ever-increasing cost of our Workcover premiums.

At a recent Board meeting, a Board education session on Directors Work Health Safety (WHS) responsibilities was presented, to ensure that Board members are being kept up-to-date on their Work Health Safety legal responsibilities. The lawyer facilitating the education session complimented the Board on the quality and quantity of WHS information which is provided to them.

In addition to the very comprehensive monthly Work Health Safety Committee meetings, very successful full-day ‘Safety Expos’ were held at both LHI sites during the year, and were very well attended by staff and volunteers.

Glynde Residential Care Facility Upgrade

During the previous year the LHI Board had endorsed a project to upgrade approximately 40 of the older Residential Care Facility single-bed rooms at Glynde. The estimated cost of the project is $3.4M over the two financial years, 2014 - 2016. This work will complete the conversion of the older ‘Low Care’ single-rooms at Glynde, which began when the major additions to the Residential Care Buildings were built in 2001. The completion of this work, scheduled for early 2016, will mean that all of the Glynde Residents, living in the Residential Care Facility single-bed rooms, will now be able to enjoy the benefits of better and safer accommodation. This project will also minimise the number of occasions on which Residents will have to ‘move rooms’, as their care needs increase.

Refurbishment of Shared Residential Care Facility Rooms (Glynde and Hope Valley)

As predicted, the significant financial changes, introduced by the Federal Government in July 2014, particularly relating to the much larger accommodation payments (bonds), has led to increased expectations by clients and their families. A recent report from our Residential Care Admissions Officer, confirmed that there is increasing rejection by applicants of shared room accommodation, in favour of the privacy and dignity associated with single-rooms.

Given this increasing demand, LHI is exploring the possibility of creating two single- bedrooms from each existing double-room in the aged care facilities, at both sites. Initial draft plans have been drawn-up by our architects, and the results appear to address the functional issues, as well as being economical in the extent of the structural work required. The plans are now with our cost consultants for estimating. Subject to a final review, we will undertake trial conversions at both sites, using the builders who are currently undertaking the Glynde single-room upgrade work.

Refurbishment of Hope Valley North (The Vines)

The refurbishment of Hope Valley North was completed during the year, and has been very well received by Residents, families and staff. As already mentioned, it is important that, in this increasingly competitive world of aged care, LHI remains able to continue to provide attractive and functional facilities and environments.

Review of Village Care Structure

The revised Village Clinical Care structure, implemented to ensure that we can meet the Government’s rapidly changing Home Care services expectations, as well as client choices, together with the challenge of the reduced Day Therapy funding at Glynde, is close to being implemented.

Following consultation with staff at Glynde, two members of our village care team chose to take redundancy, to better suit their own personal situations.

The new staffing structure is another outcome of the significant Consumer Directed Care changes introduced by the Federal Government from July 2015.

Financial Accounts as at 30th June 2015

The financial accounts for the year were ‘slightly better than budgeted’, with a positive final bottom-line, despite the withdrawal, by the Federal Government, of the Dementia Supplement on the 1st August 2014, referred to earlier in my report.

During 2014/15, there were 59 new admissions to our aged care facilities (there were 66 in 2013/14), of these 59 new admissions, 40 came from our LHI villages. The average ILU occupancy of these 40 ‘village’ admissions was 12.7 years. This statistic again affirms our organisation’s commitment to caring for our ILU Residents, that, if and when they are no longer able to continue living in their units, their longer-term future with LHI is assured.

Disappointingly, indexations of Government Subsidies, relating to care, were increased for 2015/16 by only 1.3%. This is again absolutely inadequate, and even below the average of just 1.5% per year, for each of the past 5 years.

The Australian Consumer Price Index (CPI) is an important economic indicator. It measures the changes in the prices paid by households, for a ‘representative fixed basket of goods and services’ facing households, and is divided into groups of goods and services, including: Food and non-alcoholic beverages; Alcohol and tobacco; Clothing and footwear; Furnishings, Household equipment and services; Transport; Communication; Recreation and culture; Education; Insurance and financial services, Housing and also Health.

Interestingly, while researching the figure for the past 12 months, while the overall CPI figure was indeed 1.5% for all of these items for the year, the ‘stand-alone’ CPI figure for Health on its own was the highest increase of all groups at 4.3%. The Health increase would no doubt be due to the cost increases that LHI has faced during the year, mainly related to pay and on-costs. Despite this much higher than average  ‘Health CPI figure’, the overall CPI has been considerably reduced by offsets in other household areas, which would not affect the costs associated with the commercial operations of organisations such as LHI, e.g. Furnishings, Household Equipment, Recreation, Education, etc.

Given that LHI’s expenditure on staff pay and on-costs represents almost 75% of our total expenditure, the Government’s  decision to increase the compulsory Employer Superannuation Contribution rate by 2.7% (from 9.25% to 9.5%) also had a significant impact on our expenses for the past year.

Also, the majority of LHI staff are ‘covered’ by the Federal Government’s Fair Work Commission’s Minimum Wage Rate (MWR). In June 2014 the Commission had announced an increase to the MWR of 3%. This increase also had a significant impact on the financial outcomes for the year.

These legislated combined increases in Minimum Wage Rates and superannuation, together with other ‘real’ CPI increases, make the Government’s aged care subsidy increase, of just 1.3% for the current year, appear completely desultory.

Unfortunately the current lower bank interest rates, at less than 3%, have also impacted negatively on our budgeted Interest Revenue income in our accounts for the current year. Due to the changes introduced by government, LHI no longer benefits from the ‘retentions’, system derived from Residential Care Facility bonds. The overall number and value of accommodation bonds did increase during the year, as the result of the system whereby ‘high-care assessed’ clients are also being required to now pay ‘bonds’ under the Government’s changes.

Despite all of the above, the LHI Board approved this year’s (2015/16) LHI Capital and Recurrent Budgets their July meeting. This is a very affirming ‘show of support’ from the Board and confirms their continuing commitment to the best possible staffing levels, buildings and equipment at LHI. We remain far in-front of other aged care organisations, in both our Capital and Recurrent Expenditure programmes.

Continuous Improvement

LHI’s Quality Improvement Programme continues to be a major source of service improvement and cost reduction. Both sites hold monthly meetings and detailed reports are submitted to the Board throughout the year. The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency regularly reviews our Continuous Improvement plans, as a part of their programme of announced and unannounced site-audits.

Staff profile statistics

LHI has a significant and very welcome, multi-cultural workforce. The number of LHI care staff that will continue to be required in the future is far beyond the workforce capacity of Australian-born people alone. We are grateful for the wonderful spirit that this multi-cultural workforce brings to our LHI team If we did not have these invaluable people joining us in our important work, there would be insufficient staff to care for present, and the many more future, Residents.

The extent of our current multiculturalism was confirmed by the results from a recent LHI staff survey. The survey revealed that our LHI staff originate from 46 different countries. We are very conscious that we need to recognise the origins of our staff in developing our work practices, education programmes and relationships. A recent LHI Leadership Development Day included discussions on the implications of the diversity of our workforce for our LHI leadership.

Use of i-Pads to Reduce Social Isolation

Many thanks to LHI Board member Dr David Burrows, for facilitating a new initiative, in conjunction with one of our major medical practice partners, Medical HQ, which proposes to introduce socially-isolated ILU Residents at Glynde, to the benefits of using i-Pads. A presentation at the Glynde June Bright Hour has also led to significant interest from other, non-socially isolated Residents, who wish to learn more about the benefits of this technology. We also thank the Glynde Resident Committee for their support of this initiative.

Kafé Schulze

During the year Kafé Schulze benefitted from a major refurbishment. The result has received overwhelming approval from customers and staff, and we thank our architect and all those from LHI who were involved in the project. The Kafé is a very important part of the social life of the village, as is the Coffee Shop at Hope Valley, and both are a major attractions to LHI, for those who are considering joining our communities.

Glynde Day Therapy Centre Review

The retirement during the year of our Glynde Physiotherapy Manager, Anna Sheppeard, together with the previously announced significant review by the Government of the National Day Therapy Centre (DTC) funding and service delivery system, led LHI to undertake comprehensive reviews of our Glynde Day Therapy and Physiotherapy services. The reviews are to ensure that we are ‘best positioned’ for the major changes being triggered by the latest Government new initiatives.

Also, due to the Government’s major strategic change to a new system of ‘restorative’ programmes, rather than ‘preventative’ programmes, for Day Therapy Centre services, our Hydrotherapy and Blythe Cottage services at Glynde had to be discontinued. There remain some concerns about the future of DTC funding generally, as well as the extent to which other programmes may, or may not, remain vulnerable.

National Aged Care Alliance

It has become increasingly important, particularly at a national level, that the concerns and needs of older people are heard. Through my representation of the Board of Lutheran Aged Care, I, together with my colleague from Queensland, have taken every opportunity to raise such matters at the National Aged Care Alliance meetings. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, the Turnbull Government’s decision, to make redundant the position of Minister for Ageing and Disability, is now likely to make our task more difficult.

Board of Lutheran Aged Care

As reported last year, LHI has become a significant voice, within church circles, on aged care issues. Colleen Fitzpatrick, Richard Bartholomaeus and I continued to attend the BLACA meetings during the year, and Bishop Henderson and Peter Schirmer, from LCA, have taken several opportunities to update the BLACA Board members on the strategic directions of the church, particularly in relation to Aged Care.

LCA North Adelaide Project

As reported last year, the Lutheran Church of Australia had previously announced that a plan was being developed to maximise the value of the Church’s North Adelaide land and properties, to better serve the mission of the church. During the 2014/15 year LHI has again not been involved in any further detailed planning for the North Adelaide Project, other than agreeing that two people associated with LHI could continue to serve independently on one of the committees providing advice to the LCA.

Lutheran Retirement Villages Alliance and Lutheran Aged Care Residential Network

Throughout the year, we have again continued to actively support other Lutheran organisations. Most members of these organisations do not have access to the levels of expertise and experience that we have at LHI, therefore we willingly share our knowledge and resources with them. Phil Auricht, LHI’s General Manger Assets, was again re-elected  Chairperson of the Lutheran Retirement Village Alliance, and is also a member of the SA District’s Aged Care Council, together with Megan De Vries, General Manager Residents Services for Hope Valley.

David Philips, General Manager Finance, and I continue to represent LHI on the South Australian Lutheran Aged Care Residential Network group. As the challenges associated with aged care and retirement living continue to increase, it is important to share our knowledge and expertise with other Lutheran organisations.

Our Chaplains

Again, we acknowledge and offer grateful thanks for the very significant service of our Pastors and Chaplains; Pastor Gallasch, Pastor McNicol, Pastor Gerhardy and Chaplain Ziersch. We also again give thanks to God for the many retired Pastors residing in our villages, who continue to provide their support to the LHI Pastors and Residents, and also add so much to the spiritual environment at LHI.

Hope Valley Anniversary and Hope Valley and Glynde RSL Dinners

Richard Bartholomaeus and I were again pleased to accept invitations to attend the annual Hope Valley Anniversary Dinner in February.

Similarly, I was also able to attend the Glynde and Hope Valley RSL Dinners during the year, which were well-supported by village Residents and guests.  Our RSL sub-branches fulfil an important role in our LHI communities and, despite declining memberships; the dinners have been very well attended and appreciated. LHI’s Hospitality Department’s ability to cater for these events is a major contributor to their success.  Attending the dinners is always a very special way of remembering those to whom we all owe such a great debt.

At Hope Valley the death of Founding RSL Sub-branch President Mr Gordon Chant, preceded by the death of his wife Mary, led to the need for a review of how the Hope Valley sub-branch might continue to function in the future. As in similar situations that have occurred during the history of our villages, volunteers have again stepped-up to ensure the sub-branch continued during the review period. With the support of the RSL Headquarters and additional assistance from LHI Administration, we are hopeful that the sub-branch will be able to continue its important work.

Interestingly, the Federal Government has recently issued a discussion document encouraging aged care organisations to establish links with ex-service and veteran organisations - something that LHI recognised as being beneficial to Residents over a decade ago.

Volunteers

Throughout the year our volunteers again provided a wonderful service to our Residents, especially to those in the Residential Care Facilities whose lives are so uplifted by seeing these wonderful people on a daily basis.

Kortin Norris, our Volunteers Manager, advised us in his most recent annual report to the LHI Board, that the number of hours donated by our volunteers in the Residential Care Facilities, during the past twelve months, was almost 19,000 hours, slightly down on the previous year, mainly due to the three infection outbreaks at Glynde, which had impacted on some of the programmes organised or provided by our volunteers.

The latest volunteer statistics also reveal that, for the second year in succession, of the 33 new volunteer recruits, 24 were from the wider community and 9 from LHI's Village Communities. Currently two thirds of our Residential Care Facility volunteers live outside of our villages. As I said in my report last year, this is an encouraging trend for the future, as approximately twenty percent of our volunteers will continue to retire each year.

The largest group of our Residential Care Facility volunteers are aged between 60 and 80, although of our new recruits two were over 90 years of age!

In addition to the many hours that volunteers donate to our RCFs, are the many more hours given by the volunteers who, every day, undertake innumerable roles and tasks within our LHI villages. All of these people add so much to the quality of Residents’ lives, and we thank them for their generous Christian service.

Of our 33 new volunteers recruited during the year, 58% came to us because they had been told about LHI by other volunteers, Residents or staff. Therefore we again ask all existing volunteers, Residents and staff to continue to encourage fellow Residents, family and friends to donate their time, however little, to volunteering at LHI.

Resident Committees

Our Resident committees continue to work very hard and do so much to encourage our LHI management team and fellow Residents.

At Hope Valley, the committee has just announced that they have completed the repayment of the loan provided to replace their village bus - two years ahead of schedule. The success of the Hope Valley bus project also encouraged the Glynde committee to purchase a similar bus during the year. The Glynde bus was paid for from Resident Association accumulated funds and delivered and dedicated in April.

As always, with both committees, I have again enjoyed attending their monthly meetings and admired the enthusiasm and interest of the members. I again offer my sincere thanks to the two Presidents, Betty Mattiske at Glynde, and Jocelyn Thomas at Hope Valley. I also thank their respective committee members, for their ongoing commitment, support and advice.

Due to a requirement of the Hope Valley Resident Association Constitution, Jocelyn Thomas was not eligible to stand for re-election for this current year. I wish to publicly record my gratitude to Jocelyn and to Lloyd Thomas for their faithful and efficient work over many years, and particularly for Jocelyn’s nine years’ service as President at Hope Valley.

Our village communities continue to raise funds and provide voluntary services to their respective communities. The efforts of the Coffee Shop, Village Disposals, Thrift Shop, Corner Shop, Recycling Sheds, Card Shops, Craft groups, Market Days, Samaritan’s Purse and many more, are quite outstanding. To everyone who has contributed in any way to the success of these ventures, please accept the heartfelt thanks of the Residents, staff, and the Board for all the time and effort that you have given during the past year.

Lutheran Women of South Australia

During the past year, our Glynde Ladies Auxiliary of the Lutheran Women of South Australia continued to provide outstanding service to LHI, through organising several fundraising events in support of the Glynde Residential Care Facility. The events organised by the LWSA do not just raise money for the LWSA selected projects, they also bring additional and welcome events to the social activities of the village. During the past year the LWSA focused on providing additional equipment for individual Glynde RCF rooms.

To the LWSA President, Mrs Marina Fielke, and all of the lady committee members, we again offer our sincere thanks.

LHI Management Team

To our General Management Team, Phil Auricht (GM Assets), John Boland (GM Hospitality), Megan De Vries (GM Resident Services Hope Valley), Julie Le Cornu (GM People and Culture), David Phillips (GM Finance), and Yasmine Ruyssen (GM Resident Services Glynde), I again offer my personal thanks for your continuing loyalty, support, wisdom and enthusiasm. With all of the Government and other changes that have confronted us during the past year, our journey has again not been easy, and the current year is developing the same characteristics. As always, your support has again been the major factor in our success throughout. Thank you all.

To our very special LHI staff, in all departments, who continue to be challenged by the ever-reducing funding and ever increasing workloads, I again say that you are a very special blessing to our organisation. Thank you all, and may God continue to bless you in all that you do here.

Our Board

During the year, our Chairman, Richard Bartholomaeus, again led our very special team of Board members, all of whom continue to freely contribute to the success which is LHI. To Richard, Bryon Andretzke, Dr David Burrow, Mark Fielke, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Tony Materne, Robert Newcombe, Cathy Oster, Geoff Thiel, and especially Julie-anne Burgess for accepting the nomination to be our new Chairman, you have again all continued to contribute your considerable expertise and knowledge to our organisation throughout the past year. Our special thanks to you all.

At the beginning of this report I listed three of the significant events that have occurred during the year in review at LHI.

The final significant event that I wish to acknowledge is the announcement by Richard Bartholomaeus, of his intention to retire from the Board of LHI at the end of July this year, following 37 years of faithful service to our organisation.

In a tribute speech to Richard, at his final Board meeting in July, Vice-chairperson, Colleen Fitzpatrick, said:

“Richard joined the LHI board in 1978, and from 1982 until 1985 served as Chairman, having succeeded Mr C H A Weckert. He was also appointed Acting CEO from 1991 -1992 following Mr Theo Koch’s resignation, and again as Chairman from 1994 until his retirement this year.”

“When Richard ‘came-on-board’ the Hope Valley site had not been developed – it was purchased in 1983 and that was the year that building commenced, with the first units opening in 1985.”

“1991 is described as a ‘watershed-year’ in the history of our organisation. This was the year when, following Theo Koch’s resignation, Richard ‘stepped into the breach’ as Acting General Manager and started implementing the changes that he saw were so necessary. One of the changes that he introduced was the establishment of Residents’ Representative Committees at both villages, to act as the official liaison point between the Residents and management.”

“Prior to the 1991 LHI AGM, Richard wrote to the Board members about the function and composition of ‘a Board’, stressing that ‘to be a member of any Board, means assuming considerable responsibility, which means a commitment to, and having input into, the affairs of the organisation. The Board’s main function, said Richard, is to be sufficiently informed to determine and develop policies, so that management can manage in an orderly manner and with real direction.”

“It was also at this time that Richard proposed the current Board Committee structure, suggesting that there were three areas of operation, which have since been renamed Human Services, Finance and Property Committees. This is the same committee structure which continues to serve our organisation so well.”

“In 1997, Tim Gray wrote, in his annual report, that ‘the sound financial position in which this organisation currently finds itself is directly attributable to the prudent and proactive guidance, over recent years, of our Board of Management … the success of Lutheran Homes reflects the trust and confidence that the Board and Management have in each other. We work together for a common goal ... I believe it is quite exceptional for an organisation to have a Board with the vision and commitment that ours has’.”

Colleen continued, “Richard has always remained focused and true to the original wishes of Mr and Mrs A. B. Schulze, who envisaged the prospect of providing quality aged care within a Christian environment.”

“The successes that LHI has experienced, the awards that have been won, the feedback from the Accreditation Agency and from Residents and their families, all highlight the excellence of the service that is being provided by LHI. It is the result of a team effort, where the Board and management work closely and respectfully together. Where excellence is valued and continuous improvement is at the forefront of people’s minds.”

“In last year’s annual report, Tim wrote: ‘To our Board, particularly our Chairperson Richard Bartholomaeus, who we all acknowledge as the rock upon which so much of our LHI history is built, and whose unfailing support and advice has meant so much to me personally, I again offer my sincerest thanks. We are truly blessed to have Richard leading the LHI team and we pray that God will continue to bless us with his support for many years to come’.”

Colleen Fitzpatrick concluded by saying, “I have been involved with many Boards and am aware of many more. Never before have I seen or been aware of such a long lasting commitment. Richard continues to be highly respected and viewed with great affection.”

I cannot say how we feel any better than Colleen’s final words:

“Richard, it has been a long time. There have been excitement, challenges, successes, and friendships have been made and nurtured. You have seen many people come and go through LHI. For your care and commitment, for your compassion and your faith, we thank you and we thank God for sending you to LHI, where you could use your exceptional gifts and talents to God’s glory and for the good of so many people”.

From everyone here at LHI - thank you Richard.

May He, who knows what is truly in our hearts, continue to bless all of you, and all that we do here at Lutheran Homes, in His name.

“For if God is for us, who can be against us?”

Tim Gray

September 2015