Located beside the beautiful seaside town of Whangamata there is an organisation deeply committed to the welfare of the older members of the community. The Moana House & Village is one of the oldest charitable trusts dedicated to the elderly in the region and has done much to service the community since its inception in 1983. Like many similar organisations, Moana House was established as a response to a growing need within the community, the continuous care and assistance of elderly residents.
After receiving a two-acre land as a donation by a charitable couple, James and Enid Watt, the Moana House Trust Board was founded in 1987. Soon after, Moana House opened its doors with thirty six beds initially. After establishing the village, the organization kept growing and adding more units. In 2009, another 10 hospital beds where added and additional agreements were secured with the trust board. A reconfiguration in 2012 finalized the establishment with the allocation of 47 beds, 20 hospital beds, and 27 rest home beds. Furthermore, there are 4 serviced apartments, 5 cottages for rent, and 14 retirement units designed for independent living.
Staying active and living independently
All the staff in Moana House, as well as the incredible body of volunteers who help around in various tasks, are very much concerned with the welfare of the residents in every level. Those who can still live independently have access to vast, beautiful gardens and a considerable number of activities including outdoor sports like 2 golf courses, bowling greens, croquet, floral clubs, arts and crafts clubs, gardening clubs, a theater society, and a lot more. The rural location makes for a truly tranquil environment and there is a lot of emphasis placed on making the houses and retirement village feel as homely as possible.
Another part which strongly influences Moana House & Village is providing personalized care to the residents. The hospital is fully equipped to deal with most kinds of issues and it even receives patients outside the organisation on a regular basis. Acute primary care patients can be admitted for up to a week under the care of the general practitioners and the District Health Board also has an agreement with Moana House for transitional care which is a rehabilitation service following surgical or medical event. Each unit has its own bed with an ensuite bathroom and there are several communal lounge areas where all the residents meet up and engage in a variety of social activities or simply watch TV and have discussions with their neighbours. Furthermore, the organisation provides end-of-life care to those for whom home care may not be a viable option at all. Generally, Moana House tries to assist and care for every single person that walks through their doors and has proven highly efficient in this regard.
Professional staff in a friendly environment
The staff is paramount to this excellence, something which is readily acknowledged by Anne Watts, the Moana House & Village General Manager. Everyone has a great relationship with the residents and they are involved in every part of the process. After all, maintaining a great service for the residents is more important than anything, even if the financial side of things takes a backseat to the entire process. The staff-to-patient ratio is also very high to ensure that the needs of every single resident and patient of the hospital can be addressed at all times.
Nursing is a profession to be proud of and Anne has certainly managed to convey that to her staff.
“Developing the registered nurses and getting them to believe in their abilities, to improve the standards of care and their knowledge base. I think that nurses within the sector need to stand up and stand proud for the knowledge that they’ve got, it’s very important and I’ve worked for that”, says Anne about her personal achievements within the organisation. With the range of services that are provided at Moana House it makes it an exciting, interesting and challenging place to work.
According to Anne, the people of Whangamata believe that Moana provides a service necessary to the community. Owing perhaps to the rural nature of the location, the organisation also provides the only inpatient facility in the region. And even though there is no dedicated dementia unit, there are several patients within various stages of dementia who are always cared for. Unfortunately, those who progress further eventually have to be moved to a different facility, a fact which is always explained to the families so that they can be properly assisted and cared for.
As mentioned before, volunteers are a vital part of the organisation. Either as individuals or as part of larger groups, volunteers help out within many different roles. For instance, some of them may be involved with the meals on wheels services and help deliver freshly prepared meals to the residents. Others may simply engage with the residents and keep them company, read a book with them, and generally be there for them. Some of the residents may have no family or friends who can visit them so the volunteers take their place instead.
Moana House works in collaboration with seven other similar Charitable Trusts in the Waikato region and have recently formed a company called Community Trusts in Care Aotearoa- CTCA. While there are enormous cost benefits with procurement of products, the benefits of sharing knowledge through education, benchmarking and a wide range of other quality improvement initiatives is gaining momentum within the organization and governance levels.
Looking to the future
Right now, the charitable trust is in preliminary discussions for expansions in the retirement village. In addition to that, they are looking at increasing the social housing if certain arrangements can be made. After all, providing affordable housing with various finance options is always a challenge. And while the community would also like a dedicated dementia unit, more space is absolutely required for it so there are several hurdles to go through before that goal can even be considered. Thankfully, Moana House & Village will continue to provide the same excellent level of care to the residents, wherever they may come from.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Moana House & Village
WHAT: An organisation maintaining numerous beds with hospital-level care and a retirement village for independent living
WHERE: 353 Tairua Road, Whangamata 3620