Improving the Professionalism and Quality of Support Services in the Health and Aged Care Industry [Interview][Transcript]

John_Boland_Institute_Hospitality_HealthCare_LtdGuest: John Boland
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Having trained in Dublin, Ireland and worked in hospitality all of his working life, John is General Manager of Hospitality Services with LHI Retirement Services. LHI is the largest Lutheran Aged Care Organisation in Australia looking after 1,000 residents across two villages. In our care we look after independent living residents in our villages as well as 240 high dependency residents in our residential care facilities. one of South Australia`s leading aged care providers. With 1000 clients and over 500 staff at LHI, John has a good understanding of the world of aged and acute care and has a passion for improving the dining experience for older people. John is the National President and the Chairman of the Institute of Hospitality in HealthCare Ltd (IHHC). This is a voluntary role and he bases his IHHC work from his office in Adelaide with the support of his employer LHI and our CEO Mr. Tim Gray.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, our guest John Boland discusses the background and mission of the Institute of Hospitality in HealthCare Ltd. It is the peak Industry body for support service professionals in the Health and Aged Care Industry. All those employed in a managerial or supervisory position within support services in a hospital or aged care facility can enjoy the numerous benefits available through becoming a member of the IHHC. The IHHC promotes, provides and encourages the setting and advancement of standards and guidelines relating to support services and, as a result, members are empowered to provide indispensable service and value to their organisations. The National Board and state branch committees comprise of professionals from within the Industry, dedicated to sharing their passion and expertise with others, through a variety of networking events.


Health Professional Radio
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my guest today is John Boland. John is the General Manager Hospitality Services at LHI Retirement Services in South Australia and the National President of the Institute of Hospitality in Healthcare. John welcome to Health Professional Radio.

John Boland: Thank you Wayne.

Wayne Bucklar: John, we’ve introduced you with two titles and I’d like to talk to you about both of them, but to start with tell us a little bit about LHI.

J: Yes. So LHI Retirement Services is an aged care organization and we are based in here Adelaide, South Australia. And our particular organization has got two villages, we’ve got them based in the suburbs of Adelaide, one in Glynde and one at Hope Valley. And basically we look after approximately 1,000 residents between the two villages.

W: A thousand residents, that would make you a very large facility I would have thought.

J: It is quite a large facility and obviously not the largest with other organizations … But certainly it’s the largest Lutheran Aged Care Organisation in Australia. And yeah, we cater for approximately 500 residents of each village. And it involves …. We have the independent living units residents, the people who are retired and decided to live in a village. And then we’ve got 120 residents who live in live in our aged care facility, which is quite the dependency level residents and that’s similar in both villages. They certainly have their facilities there, we’ve got community centres, and with a church at each site and basically care facilities is our major focus for our aged care facilities but what we focus, we’ve also got those carers at the village and looking after residents in need in community.

W: I see. Now General Manager for Hospitality Services, what gets categorized as hospitality services in an aged care home?

J: Well I guess they’re mostly my role there, I’m the executive team and I guess that’s the role in what I basically have to look after in that portfolio is all the … the cleaning services, laundry services. We’ve got a licensed café at Glynde site, we’ve also got a coffee shop at the other site. We’ve got retail shops and so pretty much anything hospitality and then the main umbrella. Yeah, I’ve got a staff … I’ve got some managers who work with me as part of my team. And yeah I guess basically you can all contact any of us, here at LHI. And we provide all the services in-house for the main production kitchen, so it produces all the food for the residents in the aged care facility. Plus we’ve got our own cleaning team and we’ve got our own laundry on sites that we…linen or personal property, we do that all on LHI.

W: You’re a busy man John. I can see that laundry day for you is going to be a bit more industrious than a laundry day for me. You’ve got a thousand people to take care of.

J: Certainly it can be, I mean even in our laundry itself … so and probably around about 30 to 35 loads per day to each of those washing machines. So yeah, quite a bit of linen but look we’ve got systems in facilities and a great team of people in place and keeps the operations to run smoothly.

W: Now John in your other role, you’re a chairperson of the South Australian and Western Australian branch of the Institute of Hospitality in Healthcare, and also the National President of that organization. Now tell us about that position.

J: I guess these roles came about from joining the Institute of Hospitality in Healthcare back in 1994 and … there a colleague from the LHI who introduced me to this organization and pretty much I just became a member initially. And I guess over the time, I got involved and busy and the Chairperson at that time decided to step down and I had the Vice Chair role here in SA. I had the role of chair of SA and WA and that was automatic inclusion then at the national board as the chair of the State rule of and became a board member. And I guess as time went by and the new kid on the block on that group, and I became Vice Chair, and Vice President and eventually two years ago actually in November I became the National President.

W: Now what’s the function of the IHHC?

J: I guess the function, our main focus and our main goal is actually education and development, pretty much a network for our members. And we are, our membership is fully much made of similar people like myself … people who are in a role of supporters in an aged care or a hospital healthcare situation can become a member. I guess the organization is born I guess back in 1987 from a group of I think about a half a dozen … service managers in Melbourne in Victoria who pretty much talked together over a cup of coffee across 1990 of year I’m not so sure. But they just got together one day and discussed common issues and discovered we’re all working in isolation, and that’s there’s a potential here to form an organization that would be a resource where the members can pop in to and share ideas, and share issues, their problems and their … evidence before too long was and we were able to and to work better as an industry, and as a group working in isolation back there. So I guess the institute then sort of came from that early beginnings of these services and grew over the years. And look maybe in hospitals I think in the early days and there I guess from there, from a hospitals, grew over the years and I guess one of our National Presidents a gentleman by the name Angelo Mignanelli and who was President for quite some time … to see that that the organization would need to expand that role in aged care. So today we’ve got a membership of I guess we’re about 250 members…

W: Uh huh

J: Right across Australia. But I guess our membership is based on individual. So I guess if you take myself as an example, I’m one member here on our organization. And I got a 120 staff and people. So we’ve got a fairly, pretty much capture I guess the majority of the major hospitals in Australia plus the major aged care facilities as well. And certainly bring in aged care in set of roles, and I was asking great benefits and such a similarity between support services for our hospitals and there is such a flow between aged care and hospitals and basically we’re all running with the issues, and the same…

W: Yeah. John in every industry there are misconceptions, what’s the biggest misconception in your own industry amongst your clients, customers, patients, users that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?

J: Look, I mean I guess the classic one for us even though we’re support services involving others the cleaning and laundry services … management and all those other ones, but I guess coming back to the food area, and food is such a topic and that’s everybody certainly have an opinion on food and from a family household to individuals to we’ve got the MasterChef … on TV now. There are a lot of people who are very very much the experts on food. And I guess one of the things that from time to time upsets us is the perception that we hear about hospital food or aged care food it’s not the standards that maybe people’s expectation might have. Whereas when you work in the industry and you see the amount of work and the amount of their efforts, and their innovations… in regards to how we prepare food, how we present food, how we offer on the menu. I guess that’s one of the things that I guess … in papers and …. the media that quite often we’ll hear the negative and the bad stories at the headlines rather a lot of the good stuff that happens. And I guess that’s one of the side of maybe that sort upsetting when looking in food perception and we know ourselves. Look obviously unfortunately… they have there from time to time approved, and my current belief know talking to fellow members, and we just opened our National Conference in Brisbane Queensland in October, and we present speakers and presenters there at the conference. The amount of innovation and knowledge sharing in regards to food service and in presentation it’s always in foods and delegates, you get feedback… so there is a lot of good happening out there and I guess at the moment we’re seeing some great interest on some of the high profile I guess celebrity chefs out there … form the foundation is very much focused on the food in aged care… who lives in South Australia as well involved in that in UIHC as an organization that invited, and be part of Kitchen Australia and… here in South Australia and not just about the region, … it’s about food, wine, but certainly they recognize the importance of highlighting aged care and we were very very pleased to have been given a day to be involved … And we actually ended up having chefs from the aged care industry football, which was about half a dozen chefs who came from different organizations who were all given the same ingredients and they are given an hour to prepare on stage… in the middle of CBD in Adelaide, but it was a great exposure, and through our industry we are innovative and we are actually working on certainly presentation of the meal is so important. Quite often you can see, and you can buy the best ingredients, and you can have the best chefs in the world, and you can have the best cooking and the best … kitchens but if the meal is served in an unpleasant manner or in an ineffective manner … it’s the whole experience for our patient and residents.

W: Yes John. It’s a pleasure chatting to you. Your passion for hospitality aged care services is obvious, but I do have to run away. So thank you for your time.

J: Sure.

W: If you just joined us, you just missed a fascinating chat with John Boland, the General Manager Hospitality Services with LHI Retirement Services and National President of the Institute of Hospitality in Healthcare. The good news is we have a transcript of our interview on our website. You can also hear a recorded archive on YouTube and SoundCloud and links to both of those are on our website at If you’d like to get in touch with John, the best way to do that is through his website or the LHI website This is Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar.

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