Home' Community Care Review : CCR May-Jun 2015 Contents The rapid pace of reform is the current challenge for the
sector, says community care pioneer Sue Mann. Over three
decades of running and developing her business, Mann says
they are the biggest changes she has seen.
The founder of Sue Mann Nursing and Community Care
(SMNCC) has been at the forefront of the industry since starting her
business in 1984. She ran it out of the family home in Wamberal
for 23 years where it grew to 80 staff, before opening up an office in
Erina for 27 office staff and 130 field workers.
SMNCC has transitioned from the family home to a family business.
Son and business partner Andrew Mann entered the business in 2004
and is now managing director. Daughter Brooke Cummins joined in
2013 as marketing and communications manager.
While the vast reforms affecting government funding, service
models and competition are challenges for many in the sector,
Mann is not concerned.
"With our fantastic infrastructure and staff I don't see the
changes as a challenge. It is exciting. We are thriving on it," Mann
tells Community Care Review. She singles out consumer directed care,
which she says is aligned to the model they have always had.
With the motto 'personalised care by nurses who care' Mann
founded the business because she was unhappy with care delivery
in the acute system where she worked since entering nursing school
at Gosford Hospital aged 17.
"I didn't like the way I could see patients being cared for," she says.
The catalyst was a 42-year-old patient named Ross, she recalls,
who was going for a bowel resection. "I was sitting beside his bed...
he was scared out of his wits. I was talking him through the whole
journey. The sister in charge came and berated me. I had a real go
back at her."
Mann says she wanted to look after her patients her way, particularly
around palliative care, which is one of her specialities.
Working in the field "looking after the veterans with palliative
care and wound care" has always been her passion and she misses
having a case load, she says. However, Mann has always remained
connected to the coalface. "I am still head of the operations side of
things... I still get involved with any complex clinical issues or any
complex family-related issues."
Her most important role is mentoring staff, says Mann, who chairs
all staff meetings and tells stories from over the years to keep the
While Mann says her organisation is well-prepared to meet the
challenges of reform, she is concerned about the introduction of
the CHSP, particularly the changes to assessment, which will be
undertaken by the Regional Assessment Services from July.
SMNCC has always done its own assessments and looked
after clients through their programs and that initial assessment is
imperative, she says.
"I would not like this organisation to become a service provider
only; that we don't have this whole holistic body around it."
She is also concerned about quality if the market is opened up
as Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield has suggested,
she says. Another passion of Mann's is being audited; in the last six
months they have had successful Department of Veterans' Affairs,
Department of Social Services and International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) quality management system audits, she says.
Mann says her greatest reward is making a difference in people's
lives and giving them the opportunity to remain living in their homes.
"It is about feeling so much part of the community and helping
people stay in their region, around their friends and their family."
Similarly, Mann says they are committed to remain regionally
focused as they expand.
She counts strong relationships and partnerships with GPs and
specialists key elements for her success, and her mother and son
Andrew as the two most influential people in her life.
"The business would not be what it is today without Andrew. There
is no way in the world. I was too big on being a nurse. That's what I
am -- a nurse, who has just moved into management," she says.
This is where Mann wants to stay. "I would love to have another
30 years ahead of me doing what I love," she says is her greatest
In case you're wondering, Mann has no intentions of stepping
down "while ever there is breath in my body and the organisation"
and adds there is a well-told joke in the office.
"'The doors are wide enough.' You know, for a Zimmer Frame,"
she says with a laugh. n
A model of
After three decades of providing home
support, SUE MANN tells NATASHA
EGAN she would like 30 more years to
continue her passion.
aaa community care review | 47
Community care from all angles
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