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St Vincent's: Revitalising Aged Care

Encapsulating its prime riverside location, the St Vincent’s redevelopment offers contemporary living to Guildford’s aged care community.

As the St Vincent’s redevelopment races to its scheduled December 2019 completion, the site embraces a shift from the traditional aged care model to a modern approach. The welcoming environment at St Vincent’s will be further enhanced by new technology including the latest in nurse-call technology, sophisticated security, WiFi, individual temperature controls and a networked smart TV system in every resident’s room keeping them connected with family, the community and beyond. 

“The new facility might be modern but we will still have the same friendly Catholic Homes staff,” says Michelle Barrow, Executive Manager Residential Services. “Care with Purpose is still at the forefront of everything we do at Catholic Homes.”

The modern design nestles into its historic Guildford location as naturally as the settlers did in 1829 in the Swan River Colony. The Bebo Moro homestead remains on the St Vincent’s site – a Nyungar word for ‘bend on the river.’ The site was established in 1837 and a homestead was built in 1886 in the Federation Queen Anne style. Incidentally, a shed built by monks is one of the oldest buildings in Guildford and remains on the site along with the olive trees they planted. In 1963, the property was run as a hospital by the Sisters of Charity and then later developed into an aged care residence.

As part of the St Vincent’s Redevelopment Bebo Moro has been restored to its former glory to house support services such as hairdressing, physiotherapy, a gymnasium, pastoral care, kitchen and a communal lounge with a deck overlooking the Swan River.

The Day Therapy Centre also receives a facelift and new equipment in its new location next door to Bebo Moro. “We’re excited by the redevelopment and really looking forward to it. It’s really homely. We hope our residents love it as much as us,” says Kylie Steele, Executive Manager Home and Community Care.

The $28 million project includes a two-storey residence featuring 85 single bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and one couples suite with a double bed, sitting room, kitchenette and ensuite. Designed to be sympathetic to the environment with interior design details and finishes, large windows invite the outside in and many of the light and airy rooms in the Olive and Swan wings have river or tree views. Much planning went into every detail ranging from the mattresses, linen, clinical equipment to the kitchen appliances and dining equipment.

Multiple living areas including spacious lounges, libraries and dining areas encourage connectivity between the residents, often with the Swan River as an enticing backdrop. The experience for visitors has been enhanced with a new circular entrance and ample under-croft parking, plus the installation of lifts makes it easier for access to the second level. Great care has been taken with the building design to minimise the environmental impact, from the selection of building materials to the use of LED lighting and the installation of a 100KWA solar power generation system.

The beautifully landscaped grounds feature internal courtyards and gardens with specially commissioned public art displays under the expertise of Art Consultant Maggie Baxter. In some instances the 2D and 3D artworks are positioned so residents seated in wheelchairs can enjoy them too. “The artworks and colour schemes were chosen to create a tranquil environment in each of the six wings: River, Swan, Moro, Market, Olive and Forest. Each wing was named after our beautiful Guildford setting and the colour palette is drawn from the natural environment and includes olive greens, blues and wattle,” says St Vincent’s Facility Manager Lorraine Wallis.

Food is integral to well-being at any age and the new kitchen includes the latest equipment, including a multifunctional unit that is one of the first to be installed in an aged facility in Western Australia. The diversity of the cooking equipment and the ability to maintain consistency according to Catholic Homes’ high-quality food production is on par with any high-end catering venue in Perth.

Freshly prepared meals cooked onsite by our chef will continue to be presented as a buffet food service. The communal dining experience instigated by the Montessori approach invites residents to be independent while connecting over delicious and healthy meals. There are even some residents who regularly request their favourite dishes.

Embracing the trend of a consumer directed care model, Catholic Homes continues to offer a personalised style of aged-care thanks to the implementation of Montessori. Lorraine shares, “The staff are grateful for the redevelopment and its contemporary design and modern technology. Our residents are looking forward to being able to see the river, landscape, trees and birds from their rooms and living spaces and being in touch with nature.”

Catholic Homes has dedicated over 50 years to caring for ageing Western Australians, and just as the Swan River courses on, so too will our level of dedicated care and service.