With a growing global population living longer than ever, demand for care services is at an all-time high.  Finding the balance between business outcomes, funding and quality care isn’t always easy, but Viv Allanson has built a life-long career on doing exactly that.

The CEO of Maroba Caring Communities has led the organisation for twenty-five years, building an outstanding reputation for exceptional support and business management in the process.

The Australian company, which delivers high quality care and accommodation services both at its Waratah campus and in the local community, is built on a strong foundation of care, empathy and respect.

Evolving to meet changing needs

It’s often said that nursing isn’t just a job, it’s a calling, and it’s clear that Viv and her team consider it a real privilege to play a role in their residents’ lives. As times have changed, so too have people’s needs and choices.

People are expressing a desire to stay in their own homes for longer, so the company’s Wellness and Home Support programmes were established in 2018 to help people maintain their independence, providing a holistic model of caring

The importance of empathy in health care has been known for many years. Care is critical to human growth and happiness, and a wide range of evidence shows that doctors and nurses who demonstrate empathy provide a better patient experience.

Studies also suggest that many residents consider being treated with respect to be more important than pain control; clearly demonstrating the importance of always keeping the human factor at the core of all care work.

A supportive environment for staff

But good healthcare leaders also understand the importance of looking after the carers. Dealing with illness, death and the uglier side of nursing and care support isn’t easy, so it’s important for staff to feel supported and cared for themselves.

It’s a job which not only requires patience and kindness, but also a clear head that stays calm in a crisis. The psychological demands of caring combined with physical work and being on your feet all day can lead to burn out, in turn affecting the ability to show empathy.

The company’s ethos extends beyond caring for residents. There’s a clear commitment to creating a happy workplace too, and the fact that around half of Maroba’s 180- strong staff team have been with the company for over five years is testament to that.

It’s an environment in which employees are encouraged to develop and grow by being offeredongoing professional development opportunities, and to help ease the physical aspect of the caring role, all staff have complimentary access to the onsite Wellness Clinic that provides massages and physiotherapy. This consistency in staff benefits help to provide an extremely stable environment for residents, families and friends

Viv’s leadership philosophy is to share the tools and ideas that enable people to become exceptional carers. She explains: “You must always remember, you’re not here to serve me… I’m here to serve you. I’m here to give you the tools, resources and the products to convert our residents into ‘raving fans’. My role is to create an atmosphere where we’ll want to serve each other with a smile in our hearts, to create a positive and joyful work environment.”

It certainly seems to be working. The Waratah residential facility is a surprisingly vibrant and uplifting place, with an active social scene and plenty of other activities for residents and staff to enjoy together.

Empathy for All

When Barack Obama was running for President of the United States in 2008, he gave a rousing speech about the decline of empathy in modern life. “We talk about the federal deficit, but we don’t talk enough about the empathy deficit. We are in great need of being able to stand in somebody else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes” he said.

The caring profession is one where the ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes really matters, and everyone from part time carers to senior policymakers all benefit from being able to look at the world with a different view.

Maroba is an organisation in which empathy shines throughout the entire organisation. When a resident is nearing the end of their life complimentary meals are offered to family members while they are visiting their loved one, and a chaplain is available 24/7 to offer support. Residents are farewelled by staff lining the entrance to provide a guard of honour, and memorial services are held regularly to commemorate the life of those that have passed. Viv and her team are actively involved in the local community, regularly organising fundraising activities to support charities such as Breast Cancer and Westpac Helicopter. Recently the Maroba family dug deep,with staff collectively donating over $1000 to help support a staff member undergoing a serious health issue,further demonstrating the caring nature of the organisation.

Maroba supports corporate social responsibility programmes with an active volunteer Green committee, who meet quarterly to progress the goal of achieving Gold recognition in the NSW Department of Environment and Heritage Sustainability Advntage Awards

An initiative launched in 2016 called ‘Leaders in the Spotlight’ aims to highlight the regions emerging leaders to inspire, add value and spread a shared vision of exposing the greatness in others. The popularity of this event is growing with attendees coming from all business sectors, not just the caring profession.  Building on the excellent reputation for quality of careMaroba, through its subsidiary company Smart Training and Consulting Group, offers high quality educational and training for the aged care sector, and through a partnershipwith the University of Newcastle supports nursing, medical, and allied health students by offering ongoing practical placement opportunities.

The focus of the company today is to diversify the range of accommodation and services provided by Maroba to ensure it continues to be a relevant and dynamic organisation. With an impressive track record in innovation and progression, there’s little doubt that Maroba will continue to go from strength to strength.

Maroba Caring Communities is based at 58, Edith Street, Watarah, NSW, Australia. For further details email enquiries@maroba.com.au or visit https://www.maroba.com.au/contact/