Q&A with Sue Toner, Director of Care at St Louis. Questions to Ask When Choosing a Nursing Home in Adelaide

St Louis’ Nursing Home in Parkside, Adelaide has been up and running since 1946. For more than 70 years we have been delivering high quality care to our residents. And every day we continue to refine our services, making those in our care feel at home, care for and a part of the St Louis family.

Sue Toner is the Director of Care in our nursing home and liaises with our residents, their families and our carers on a daily basis. When families are researching their nursing care options for a loved one, it is a sensitive time and one that generates a lot of questions, rightly so.

Sue answers many questions when families call her about the nursing home and how our care is delivered. The Q&A with Sue below shares some of these questions.

Q - What is the staff ratio like?

We have one carer to five residents and all our staff are internal St Louis staff. We do not contract out any of our care services because we believe this is best delivered in house. We have a standard of care that we are proud of, so we want all our carers trained in our style of care.

Our staff stay with us a long time which contributes to a sense of familiarity and security for our residents. 37% of our staff have been here for 5+ years and 17% for 10+ years – this is exceptional in our field of work.

We know the families of our residents well and we all go by a first name basis – it is important for us to welcome both residents and their families into the St Louis family.

Q - What are the qualifications of your care staff?

All our staff have a minimum Aged Care Certificate Level 3 and most are actually Level 4 care staff. We also employ nursing students and several fully registered nurses.

Q - Are there registered nurses on duty?

We have a registered nurse always available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. There is at least one scheduled for every shift.

Q - What about other care services?

We provide allied health support for residents. There is a physiotherapist here 3 days a week and visiting podiatrists, speech pathologists and dieticians to advise on our menus. Will access many other health services such as optical, dental, hearing or additional assistance where required for wound management.

We also have a hairdresser here weekly and a beauty therapist fortnightly so our residents can enjoy some pampering.

We provide mild dementia care in our nursing home as well.

Q – What makes St Louis’ Nursing Home different to others?

When people come here they tell us there is a sense of community and family. It is a smaller nursing home with 45 residents and we all know each other very well – the carers, the admin staff, the residents and the family members.

We have a coffee lounge called The Café which serves up delicious treats, coffee and tea so that family and friends can sit and catch up over a cuppa. It has a lovely atmosphere, and everyone enjoys it.

We make use of technology to provide better care, for example the CareApp sends messages and alerts to family and friends about what their loved ones are up to when they can’t physically be here.

We also use PainCheck which determines pain levels in people with dementia, so we are able to detect if they are in pain because often they cannot communicate this to us. It takes a photo of your face and uses sophisticated facial scanning technology to pick up pain levels if they exist.

Q - What is the food like at your nursing home?

Delicious. We often post our meals on our Facebook page so families know what’s on the menu occasionally. It is all home cooked and we consult with dieticians to make sure that we are serving food with high nutritional value and what our residents want. We provide balanced diets that incorporate protein, fruit and veggies and all special or modified diets and textured diets are catered for.

There is always choice with two mains and two desserts to choose from and we serve quality wine from Tapestry wines (not cask wines), so our residents enjoy a special glass of red or white wine with their meals.

Q - What activities do you have for your residents?

We understand the importance of social interaction and staying socially active and engaged so we arrange many activities. We take our residents out twice a week on our bus and often take a nice drive along the coastline or we go for lunch.

At the St Louis nursing home, we celebrate all the important days such as Mother’s and Father’s Days, St Patricks Day, Melbourne Cup. Recently we celebrated World Chocolate Day which was on July 7 and we had plenty of delicious chocolate treats and chocolate cheesecake.

We find out about our residents’ personal interests and will incorporate these into our social calendar or provide them one on one. For example, we have a resident who used to be a synchronised swimmer so we take her to the SA Aquatic Centre for swimming activities.

We have music concerts, art therapy classes and quiz days. We run the Strength for Life exercise program to develop both strength and flexibility as people age. We have qualified trainers visit our nursing home to train our residents on using bands for strength training. So we have a lot going on at any given day. And we also make sure people have their quiet time when they need it.

Q – What are the facilities and furnishings?

Our nursing home residents have their own rooms and we provide all the basics including Wibo beds and pumpless air mattresses. But we encourage our residents to bring in their own furnishings and make their rooms feel like their home.

We have installed out-of-bed alarms on each bed which are triggered by a pulse, not by weight which provides additional safety.

Each room has Smart TV, so we can schedule what people like to watch. For example, one of our residents loves the ballet so we make sure she is able to watch ballet programs. The same goes for sport or fishing programs for some of our other residents.

You and your loved one become part of the St Louis Family in our Nursing Home

We are a small, boutique nursing home which has a sense of stability and longevity, built on a foundation of care that spans more than 70 years. Call St Louis on (08) 8272 3344 to discuss care for a loved one.

You can also like our Facebook page which will keep you up to date with all of our activities and announcements.

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