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Opening nears for a new age of residential aged care

The aged care, health, and education hub developed by ACH Group which will feature a state-of-the-art residential care home and provide health services to Adelaide’s northern community is complete.

Healthia, a $40 million development by the South Australian not-for-profit aged care provider, sits within the Playford Health Precinct and will open in mid-August 2023.

ACH Group CEO Frank Weits outside of one of the eight small homes at Healthia.

ACH Group CEO Frank Weits said Healthia will improve the health and lifestyle outcomes for Adelaide’s northern community, develop career pathways for healthcare workers, and reimagine residential aged care.

The 96-place residential care home has adopted an innovative small household-built form, a preferred model identified by the Royal Commission, and will be the first in Australia to implement the U.S.-founded Green House Project.

“Healthia responds to a generation shift in expectations and the Royal Commission’s call to action to rethink aged care,” Mr Weits said.

“ACH Group is a strident leader in reimagining aged care through innovative built forms, and workforce and care models to support older people to live good lives.

“Our partnership with Green House will accelerate the shift to person-directed care supporting residents to have more choice and engagement in everyday living. Furthermore, the Green House model rethinks the roles of the traditional residential care workforce, amplifying the Care Worker role. We envisage this will increase staff retention which translates to the continuity of care for residents.”

Construction of Healthia began in December 2021. The building extending over 9100 square metres was designed by South Australian architect Brown Falconer and constructed by SARAH Constructions.

The residential care home comprises eight purpose-built single-storey homes, located in a village setting and joined via interconnected walkways. The homes feature 12 self-contained private 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.

“Many design principles within the houses have taken into consideration what would be seen in someone’s own home; this has ensured a definite move away from an institutional setting and will capture a home environment and sense of familiarity for residents,” Mr Weits said.

“The homes are designed to integrate with the natural streetscape of a typical suburban neighbourhood through their scale, domestic features, and the building materials used. We have also minimised institutional artefacts such as signage, nurse stations, and medication trolleys.”

One of the private bedrooms at Healthia.

Healthia will also be a home base for ACH Group’s community workforce that support the growing number of older residents in the north with Home Care Packages.

At Healthia, ACH Group has brought together the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN), University of South Australia, and City of Playford.

“ACH Group is proud to lead the cross-sector partnership. It is an example of how aged care providers can lead progressive partnerships that support the healthcare system and future workforce and improve health outcomes for locals,” Mr Weits said.

Healthia residents, along with the public, will have access to professional and lower-cost student-assisted services through the University of South Australia’s co-located GP, nursing, and allied health clinic. ACH Group’s relationship with the university will also see nursing and allied health students undertake placements in the care home.

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