South Africa’s Rand Aid Association – based in Lyndhurst – has been recognised in a World Health Organisation (WHO) report on the development of long-term care systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
WHO’s report, ‘Towards long-term care systems in sub-Saharan Africa’, lists Rand Aid in a section titled ‘Innovative approaches for delivering organised care’. It includes Rand Aid’s financial model as a possible pathway to promote sustainability, equity and accessible care. At the same time it recognises the importance of the organisation’s person-centred approach to improve the dignity of care dependent older persons.
The report reads: ‘Rand Aid is a registered non-profit-making organisation that serves a dual purpose: it provides a range of upscale retirement accommodation and long-term care to older people who can afford it. This generates a source of income that is used to assist other older people in need.
‘Currently, around 1 800 older people reside in Rand Aid properties, including approximately 360 who live in long-term care (frail care) facilities.
‘Units in these retirement villages are sold on the life rights concept. Residents buy the right to live in the village and they (or their estate) receive 80% of the initial purchase price when they depart. In addition, residents pay a monthly fee for services that are available to them.
‘Villages offer housing, 24-hour security, nursing care, garden and domestic services, physiotherapy and podiatry. Every effort is made to ensure that residents’ needs are met. At one of Rand Aid’s two long-term facilities, residents pay for their board and lodge in full. The other facility receives a small government subsidy but is funded mainly by the organisation through a cross-subsidy of a portion of the 20% of the life rights purchase price.
‘Long-term care facilities offer multi-disciplinary and personalised care to those who need help in order to maintain their functional ability. The facilities have adopted the Eden Alternative philosophy, which aims to transform traditional, institutionalised long-term care facilities into human habitats.’
In December 2016, Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre became the first organisation in Gauteng – and the second in Africa – to become a member of Eden Alternative South Africa registry. It is thus gratifying to note that the WHO report makes particular note of the centre’s care philosophy: ‘Based on the principles of person-centred care, the facilities emphasise freedom of choice for all residents. Older people and their families are involved in care planning and residents are encouraged and enabled to exercise autonomy in their day-to-day lives to the maximum extent possible.
‘Integrated care teams of nurses, nursing assistants, social workers, occupational therapists, medical doctors (on call), recreation officers and volunteers provide a range of services to residents in these facilities.
‘The full-pay long-term care facility is located within one of the retirement villages, thus enabling ageing in place, if residents’ care needs increase over time. This facility also features a specialised dementia unit. The subsidised long-term care facility, which is also situated in spacious grounds, accommodates 180 older people in particular need of 24-hour nursing care.’
The WHO report recognises that Rand Aid, being over 100 years old, has demonstrated financial sustainability and that the cross-subsidisation model requires careful financial balance between its income-generating activities and its charity work.
In response to Rand Aid’s inclusion in the report, the CEO, Rae Brown, said that this is an excellent recognition of the efforts of the organisation to provide sustainable care to older persons across the income spectrum and to ensure that the principles of dignity and respect are enhanced through a person-centred approach.