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Q&A with Ben Levesque at Finley Regional Care

 

This week, we sat down with Chief Executive Officer of Finley Regional Aged care NSW, Ben Levesque, to discuss the evolving industry and gain some insights into his leadership role. With a rich and successful career working in aged care, along with a background in management across some diverse industries, Ben enjoys working for an organisation that provides great facilities and services to its local community.

 

How did you come to work in aged care and move up the ranks to CEO of Finely Regional Care?

Firstly, I spent many years working in a variety of positions in the hospitality and transport industries – from dishwasher, driver, bar person to different management positions including, CEO.

After an illness in the family we moved back from the Sunshine Coast to Yarrawonga in Victoria by request of the children, as they loved the Murray River and water skiing. Actively looking for work, I found a HR position advertised at Finley Regional Care. I thought ‘I can do this!’ even though I had no knowledge of the aged care industry. During the interview and tour of the space, I felt warmth for Finely Regional Care and instantly aligned to the goals of the organisation and wanted to work there.

After three years working as HR/Business Manager, an opportunity for CEO at Finley Regional Care opened up and I was fortunate the board felt I had the required skills and experience to fulfil their goals and mission. I have been in the role for two years now and love the challenge every day.

What does a typical day for Ben look like?

This is a really hard question as the days vary so much, being why I love the role. Normally it involves a lot of reading, particularly at the moment as we’re trying to understand all the proposed changes to the aged care industry. The more enjoyable part is to get out and about talking with residents, who are more like family at Finley Regional Care, along with our team of dedicated staff. One of my favourite activities I see our residents involved in is slot car racing every week as it is amazing to see the joy and competition on our residents faces.

Strategic planning has become almost a daily task as we prepare for change, not only to legislation, but changing expectations from the public in regard to how they think aged care should be.

I find myself working closely with companies such as OfficeMax(Winc) and other suppliers more than ever before as the partnerships are extremely important. Reducing costs and finding the best products are becoming increasingly important.

How have you seen the aged care industry evolve throughout your career?

The time I have been in this industry it has been continually evolving and we have been in constant change. I believe this is across all industries in the present climate as the world is changing rapidly in so many ways.

What are some of the things you love about working in the industry?

I love to see happy residents and to see the real change we can make to families and their loved one.

The main thing is the change we make every day to people’s lives not just in our home but also in the whole community with our Home Care service and Medical Centre. At Finley Regional Care it is all about community engagement.

In your opinion, what are the major challenges currently facing the aged care industry?

Legislation change is a major challenge, with some overdue and some putting more barriers in providing flexible care.

Knowing what funding may look like in the near future will be a big challenge.

Increased expectations and demand for care will also be an interesting space moving forward with an increasingly ageing population.

This month we’re exploring the topic of malnutrition and dehydration. How can families/friends support aged care workers in ensuring their loved ones are getting the nutritional requirements they need?

This is an area we believe we do very well and have a lot of options for meeting nutritional requirements. Families and friends support is vital as we need them to communicate any concern they may have, including any food preferences or dislikes, so we can cater to their needs.

The prevalence of malnutrition and dehydration can be common amongst aged care residents. What actions do aged care workers take to ensure residents are adequately eating and drinking?

We continually have our menus assessed by dietitians and have a visiting dietitian who will assess residents who may be having issues with eating and drinking. They then prepare a plan of how we can best ensure they remain healthy.

What do you see for the future of aged care? And how do you see technology playing into this?

Aged Care has an amazing future, health services will be the main source of employment moving forward as we expect massive growth in this area. How aged care looks and feels will change dramatically providing more flexible and consumer-driven care models.

Technology will play a massive role in the change to aged care as it will assist in flexibility and also allowing loved ones to stay at home longer if that is their wish.

There will be many efficiencies from technology which will allow us to spend more time caring for people – although it’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter how good technology is you cannot replace people caring for people.

What makes Finley special and sets you apart from the rest?

We work hard to create a facility that feels like a home for both our residents and our team members. For us it is all about fun, kindness and respect. I believe we have a big extended family at Finley, which makes it a pleasure to come to work every day.

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