Boronia continued to perform well in 2021. We have always been impressed with the level of mutual respect shown between staff and residents at Boronia. Consequently, we found a safe, supportive and positive environment. There was some instability in the leadership team caused by substantive positions being filled on an acting basis. And this was having some implications for staff/management relations. We have recommended that senior management positions be substantively filled in order to address these issues.
In previous inspections we have recommended increased use of the section 95 program, in particular allowing residents to access this program without needing supervision, to enhance their reintegration prospects. Whilst work had been done in this space between our 2018 and 2021 inspections, the coronavirus pandemic had significantly impacted on residents being able to go out on section activities. And even though restrictions had eased in the community, there remained restrictions on this program at Boronia. These eased during our inspection and so we expect to see this program start to gain momentum again.
The facility was in need of significant maintenance work. Our report includes photographs of the severe wear and tear visible across the site, particularly in the houses. This work is beyond the capacity of the internal maintenance work party and should be contracted out to specialised maintenance providers.
Boronia is a self-care facility. Residents live in communal houses and share household tasks of shopping, cooking and cleaning. They are provided a weekly budget for food. Some houses managed this function well while others struggled. We think that all residents would benefit from specialised life skills’ support to assist them to successfully manage their household responsibilities, which is essential for successful reintegration. So we have recommended that a Life Skills VSO position be created and filled at Boronia.
And finally we thought that the Aboriginal residents, particularly those who are out of country, could benefit from more support. We thought that cultural engagement and connections could be strengthened and so we recommended the provision of programs to engage Aboriginal women and which reflect the diversity of the Aboriginal women residing at Boronia.