5 years ago, we realised that things were not always great in the aged care industry. In fact, having become quite cynical about aged care and the negative viewpoint of those relying on services, and those working within it, we decided to try and make a change. We had one big idea; we wanted to change the perception of aged care.
At first, we thought it would be great to provide high quality, deeply experienced care to those who needed "one on one" help. The plan was to provide this to individuals and eventually have a facility where we could do this on a larger scale. By making sure staff were highly trained, and the focus was on high quality care, we aimed to improve perception and begin a journey of advocacy with a template to show how it could be done.
What happened next has shaped our future more significantly than we would have thought possible. A chance encounter with a client, and her family, has taken us on a journey through one person’s experience and into a different path we now think can achieve the change in perception we so want to achieve.
We met Rita as a result of a friend introducing Marion to the family. At that time Rita was living at home with her husband and had reached that time in their lives where they just needed a bit of assistance, to keep them safe and sound. They have a loving family, who wanted to do the right things but who had equally gotten to the point of not knowing the best things to do for mum and dad. Shortly after Marion started to provide some in home help, it became clear that this was going to be a very different kind of help. Not only was Marion helping with the daily activities of care that kept Rita and her husband safe, but she was also helping the family understand what was happening, why it was happening and the options open to them.
Over the next 5 years, Rita's husband passed away, and the unfair ravages of dementia took hold. From living at home, there was an increase in the level of care required until a decision to move into a retirement village was made. From there, an eventual transition to a nursing home, where Marion continues to support Rita and her family.
Through all of this, the overwhelming positive feedback from Rita, her family and the other associated healthcare professionals have made us realise there is a need for independent advisory and support services. Marion has made such a positive difference to Rita's journey that we want to make sure we can provide for others, which is how we came to the realisation that client and healthcare liaison was an important aspect of what we should offer, perhaps even more so than having our own facility.
We have been able to work very directly with doctors, nurses, carers and nursing home staff over this last 5 years. The encouragement and discussions we had with them also revealed another area we now provide as a service. With Rita as the catalyst, Marion has been a representative for the family, a wise and experienced set of eyes and ears to help understanding and decision making during and after the various appointments that Rita has attended over the years.
Appointment support is now one of our key services. Marion will get to know her clients, and the concerns the family has. This means that during the appointment, which can often be with Doctors who have difficult news to convey, she can help with asking the right questions, and providing support to the family in times of stress and anxiety that helps the Doctors or health professionals, but more importantly provides a sounding board for the family, for as much or as little as is needed. From simply translating the terminology to laying out the options, Marion is able to assist.
To help with this we have a vehicle specifically set up to facilitate the high-quality care we want to provide. To give a safe space and caring environment for people to feel comfortable, calm and relaxed.
And so the LifeNet journey continues, with a plan to grow, and reach as many people as possible, we continue our mission to change the perception of aged care by providing high quality services, and advocating for others to do the same.
With a career that spans more than 30 years Marion has been a Carer, a laboratory assistant, a nurse, a Doula, a manager, a business owner and aged care advocate.
Her journey gives her the training and qualifications to understand what is happening from a medical perspective, and then apply the practical solutions that carers and families of those in need require.
Originally from Scotland, Marion trained as a nurse then applied that training in hospitals, nursing homes and in the community. With a desire for some diversity in her career, so began a few years working in different environments. This included working in laboratories as a clinical lab assistant for a few years, then moving into roles that saw her become a mobile manager for Marie Curie Cancer Care, a charity that relies on volunteers to run shops, which provides funding for a range of cancer research initiatives.
Arriving in Australia in 2003, Marion went back to TAFE and updated her nurses training to provide an Australian qualification, and saw her return to Aged Care.
With a few years in nursing home and care in the community roles, so set the scene for Marion to start LifeNet Services and look to making a real, positive difference to those in her care.
Our Mission & Vision
Changing the perception of Aged Care
- Appointment Support - Provide high quality support for clients and their families
- Client / Healthcare Liaison - Assist those who need help navigate the Aged Care systems and processes to maximise the level of care and clarify the facilites available