Local clergy visit new residential care home ahead of opening

By Catholic Healthcare, 18 December 2021
Members of the Parish of Baulkham Hills parish team (L-R) Betty Cheung, Fr Jessie Balorio and Fr Chinonye Akamadu are seen during a tour of Catholic Healthcare's MacKillop House in Norwest. Image: Catholic Healthcare/Supplied


Making sure residents feel at home is probably the most important consideration, says Residential Manager Julie Farquhar, during a special tour for local parish priests before the opening of the new Catholic Healthcare Residential Care Home MacKillop House in Norwest.

Fr Wim Hoekstra, Fr Jessie Balorio, Fr Chukwunonyerem (Chinonye) Akamadu, Monica O’Callaghan and Betty Cheung from the Parish of Baulkham Hills strolled through the lounges and dining areas and were shown the bedrooms, gym and hair salon. They were joined by Fr Fernando Montano from the nearby St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill and Fr Ian McGinnity from Christ the King Parish, North Rocks. The group had to all wear face masks to adhere to restrictions currently in Residential Aged Care.

The home has 6 wings that are named after key people relating to the history of the home and the area.

  • (John) McNamara – St Michael’s Parish Priest of St Michael’s Parish, Baulkham Hills, in 1917 who rebuilt the crumbling church.
  • (William) Joyce – the first owner of the land the home was built upon.
  • (Cardinal) Gilroy – who devoted most of his work devoted to providing schools and churches for the Catholics throughout Australia.
  • Penola – the small town in South Australia where Mary MacKillop began teaching and founded the Sisters of St Joseph.
  • (Julian Edmund Tenison) Woods – the Parish priest who worked with Mary MacKillop in Penola and the first Director of Catholic Education in Australia.
  • (Mother Leone) Ryan –  A true ‘Aussie Pioneer’ and previous Superior General of the Sisters of St Joseph, who had bought the land on which MacKillop House is now built.

“We are in the process of inducting and providing training for all services and staff including RNs, the Care Team, Catering, laundry, etc. There are 27 people here currently undergoing training,” explains Julie, as they walked through into the large multifunction room with drop down video screen and landscaped courtyards accessible via the patio doors. This will be where the residents and local seniors will be able to have functions and social activities.

Parish of Baulkham Hills parish priest Fr Wim Hoekstra (left) and Christ the King parish priest Fr Ian McGinnity (right) are seen during a tour of Catholic Healthcare’s MacKillop House in Norwest. Image: Catholic Healthcare/Supplied

Fr Fernando was especially impressed with the many courtyards that can be accessed on every floor.

After touring through the home alongside Catholic Healthcare’s Mission Team, the group stopped for morning tea at the glass-fronted café in the reception area of the home.

Fr Wim supported the idea of a regular mass that his Parish would be able to provide and the groups discussed how they can support the senior communities in and out of the home.

MacKillop House caters for all Residents including high care and palliative. Each floor has two wings of 18 bedrooms; there’s a wing for mainstream care and an opposing wing for memory support. As Julie says, dementia is a growing disease so it’s important to factor this into the building’s function and design.

The home feels more like a resort and the piece de resistance is, without a doubt the Chapel – a true place of reflection where services are able to be livestreamed so that residents can attend from the comfort of their own rooms should they not be able to attend in person.

With thanks to Catholic Healthcare.


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