Sacred Heart Community in Melbourne has been supporting people as they age within their local community since 1994. It is a high care residential facility in St Kilda, which provides support for up to 97 people.
Sacred Heart Community provides 24-hour aged care, clinical support and palliative care services for people living with a disability, mental health issues, significant drug and alcohol use.
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Most of our residents have histories of experiencing homelessness, disadvantage, and marginalisation due to mental health issue and substance abuse.
Many have a range of complex needs, resulting from negative life experiences including the effects of poverty, exposure to trauma and social isolation. These complexities require a very different approach to service provision than other aged care services.
Many Sacred Heart Community residents experience premature ageing due to a lifetime of persistent disadvantage. This may be due to long-term experiences of homelessness complex mental illness, comorbidities and poor medication management, histories of trauma and drug/alcohol dependence, among other factors. This means our residents are, on average, younger than most people who require residential aged care services.
Our staff are extremely experienced in supporting people living with complex care needs who require a high care environment at a younger age. Sacred Heart Community is both Aged Care and NDIS accredited.
Many residents have lost contact with family and friends. It is therefore essential that meaningful relationships are fostered between residents and staff. This ensures the residents are supported and engaged and find their place within their new home. For those who do have relationships with their families, we support residents to maintain and rebuild connections with their relatives and friends.
Medical support for Sacred Heart Community residents
Sacred Heart Community fosters excellent relationships with a number of medical practitioners who work in the local area, many of whom have had lengthy existing relationships with our residents.
We work closely with the Alfred Hospital, engaging with the Mobile Assessment and Treatment Service and Hospital in the Home. The other services who support the residents are in house physiotherapists six days a week, podiatrists, speech pathologists, a dietician and psychologists. Residents are also referred to other services in the community.
Sacred Heart Community provides onsite palliative care and complex medical care for those who require it. As a high care facility, we support residents to age in place and we provide care and support until the end of someone’s life.
We have highly skilled Registered Nurses onsite 24 hours a day and an Emotional Support Therapist on staff.
Social inclusion and lifestyle (LifeMatters) program
A well-planned lifestyle program aims to create opportunities for residents to feel connected to both the home community and to the broader St Kilda community.
Residents are encouraged to maintain their independence and continue activities that have been a big part of their lives and are supported to engage with the community.
Residents are actively involved in decision making about their lives in their home. Regular Resident Group meetings are held to give residents the opportunity to provide feedback on all aspects of their care and support including around meals and activities.
We spoke to the team at Sacred Heart Community about what makes our residence and services special. This is what they said:
Margaret, Sacred Heart Community Manager: Sacred Heart Community is a home for life, for people who have experienced homelessness, trauma, and live with mental illness.
Yoko, Clinical Care Coordinator: What I enjoy most about my job here in Sacred Heart Community is how united our team are.
Shermin, Personal Care Assistant: This facility is nothing like the other facilities. The way we come together and the way we help one another is totally different.
Santiago, Life Matters Coordinator: This is a home, first of all. So we want people to come here and eventually feel like this is my home. This is where I can be myself.
Irma, Emotional Support Therapist: They share things about their lives and tell me stories. And it’s very beautiful to have that meaningful connection. So it’s not just the functional relationship.
Brian, Lifestyle Assistant: Makes you feel like you’re needed and you’re doing a worthwhile job.
Yoko: We’re about the residents. We’re about the values that Sacred Heart Mission holds. And we really enjoy coming to work and not just for the residents, but also for the staff.
Shermin: Different languages, different culture, but still we come together and we help one another and we get things done at the end of the day.
Irma: Yeah. That’s a very special connection between the staff as well. And I think the residents feel that. So because it’s like it is their home everyone has a feeling of being family.
Margaret: The residents make it special. They are an amazing group of people.
Shermin: They have the independence to do this, but we are there to help them. Yeah, that’s what we love here.
Santiago: We all have the same Mission. Pardon the pun; Sacred Heart Mission, of course. But I think that’s true. I think everyone here is here for the same reasons and the right reasons.
Yoko: It’s not about where you’re from or, you know, where you’ve been, but we can come together and work towards the same goal and that’s to provide quality life for our residents.
Santiago: I don’t think I could find the experiences that I have here anywhere else.
Margaret: Yes. My team who are an extraordinary group of people, who work in all sorts of capacities; and we couldn’t do this without everyone doing what they do in this facility. So, you know, wonderful people.
Rooms and pricing information
Sacred Heart Community’s new facility at 101 Grey Street, St Kilda opened in February 2020 offering accommodation for 97 residents.
This state-of-the-art facility was designed and built-in consultation with our residents, and the architects were given a brief to ensure Sacred Heart Community’s new building was connected to the community of St Kilda. As a result, the floor plan has lots of natural light from ceiling to floor windows with views out to the activities of Grey Street, St Kilda.
The living areas are at the front of the building. Each level has its own kitchenette, with dining and lounge areas for residents’ use. The facility is within a short stroll of all the attractions of St Kilda with many public transport options for residents and visitors.
Wifi is available throughout the building with a large screen TV situated in each of the lounge rooms. There is a large courtyard and balcony where residents can gather outdoors.
All rooms are for a single adult, including a private ensuite. All rooms are fully accessible for those with limited mobility or wheelchair users.
All rooms are furnished with bed, bedside locker, built-in wardrobes and cupboards, free standing six drawer unit and chair. All rooms have natural light with large operable windows, ensuite bathrooms, individual heat control and ceiling fans. All rooms have digital TVs.
Costs and fees for care and accommodation
Everyone in residential aged care is required to pay a Basic Daily Care Fee, which is 85% of the aged pension for a single person, or $54.69 per day.
In addition, if you are assessed as financially able and eligible by the Commonwealth Government, you may need to pay a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) (previously known as a bond).
Centrelink and the Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) will assess whether you need to pay the RAD.
The RAD is a standard room price set by the respective aged care home and is paid by a refundable lump sum. At Sacred Heart Community, this amount is $550,000.
The Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP) is the RAD paid periodically (calculated as a daily amount). The DAP amount is calculated by applying the maximum permissible interest rate (MPIR) which is determined by the Commonwealth Government. then divided by 365 to determine a daily fee. The RAD can be paid as a single deposit to Sacred Heart Community, as a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP) or a combination of the two.
Current rates are:
Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD): $550,000
RAD ($550,000) x Maximum Permissible Interest Rate (4.07%) / 365 = DAP or $61.33
You can also pay the RAD as a combination payment.
For example, if you had $275,000 (50% of the RAD); you could pay this to Sacred Heart Community and you would then pay the remaining half of the RAD as a DAP.
This would be: $275,000 x 4.07% / 365 = $30.66
These amounts are in addition to the Basic Daily Care Fee. Sacred Heart Mission will continue to provide fully subsidised places to people who are full pensioners with no assets.
More information is available on My Aged Care.
How to apply to become a resident
To be eligible to become a resident you must have:
- An assessment undertaken by an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS), and
- A Centrelink asset assessment.
A referral is NOT required.
You can apply for accommodation directly to Margaret Thorpe, Sacred Heart Community Facility Manager:
You can also apply through the My Aged Care website.
How we help people in our community
83 people lived in secure, supported accommodation at Sacred Heart Community in 2020/21.
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