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$40 million aged care, health and education hub officially opens

ACH Group’s $40 million aged care, health, and education hub that reimagines aged care and will improve the health outcomes of the local community officially opened on 20 September 2023.

Healthia, featuring a state-of-the-art residential care home and GP, nursing, and allied health clinic, sits within the Playford Health and Wellbeing Precinct in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

The hub developed by the South Australian not-for-profit aged care provider brings together the University of South Australia, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN), and City of Playford.

ACH Group’s 96-place residential care home has adopted an innovative small household-built form comprising eight purpose-built single-storey houses in a village setting. The houses feature 12 self-contained resident rooms with ensuites; a large open plan living, kitchen and dining area; and features commonly found in traditional houses so residents can participate in the daily house activities if they wish.

NALHN will occupy 24 rooms within the care home to help transition older people from hospital to their home or more suitable accommodation.

The co-located UniSA Health Clinic, an integrated GP, nursing, and allied health clinic, will provide services to residents and the surrounding local community with a combination of professional and lower-cost student-assisted services.

ACH Group CEO Frank Weits said the aged care provider was proud to lead the powerful cross-sector partnership.

“Healthia will improve health outcomes for the local community, support the hospital system, and reimagine aged care,” Mr Weits said.

“The residential care home responds to a generation shift in expectations and the Royal Commission’s call to action to rethink aged care.

“We know most older people want to stay in their own homes, however, for many this is not possible due to increased care needs. What makes Healthia different is the person-directed care model and the unique built form.

“Healthia is the first care home in Australia to implement the U.S.-founded Green House Project model of care, which is informed by person-directed care principles and supports residents to have increased input into their everyday living.

“The unique built form has taken into consideration what would be seen in someone’s own home to capture a homely environment and sense of familiarity for residents.”

Pro Vice Chancellor: Teaching & Learning at UniSA, Professor Esther May said the partnership is part of the University’s commitment to supporting educational opportunities, health services, and the health workforce in the northern suburbs.

“As a registered NDIS provider, the clinic will provide additional adult and pediatric NDIS services in the northern suburbs. Nursing and allied health students will undertake placements in the residential care home and the clinic, providing them with vital practical learning experiences during their degree and preparing them for the health workforce.”

City of Playford Mayor Glenn Docherty said the vision for the Playford Health and Wellbeing Precinct was shaped over a decade ago.

“Council and the community want world-class health, education, rehabilitation, and research facilities in our precinct. These services complement an expanding Lyell McEwin Hospital which supports our rapid population growth in the northern region,” he said.

“As part of delivering this vision, City of Playford worked closely with ACH Group to repurpose a portion of Council-owned land to accommodate Healthia. This would enable our community to access a service that was identified as a need within the Playford Health and Wellbeing Precinct.

“The opening of Healthia marks a significant milestone and we look forward to continuing our partnership with ACH Group and other stakeholders to foster a thriving Precinct.”

Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Chris Picton MP, said Healthia would be a great addition to the northern suburbs of Adelaide.

“This facility will better support older South Australians and their care needs,” he said.

“Healthia provides a new approach to aged care and is the first care home in Australia that implements the Green House Project model founded in the US.

“We are also thrilled with the partnership that will allow older patients at the Lyell McEwin Hospital and Modbury Hospital to leave hospital sooner, and continue their transition to home at Healthia.”

Mary Patetsos and Frank Weits

Healthia was officially opened on 20 September 2023 by the Government of South Australia, Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Chris Picton MP, and ACH Group Chair Mary Patetsos.

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