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Anja Stodtmeister | Owner | and Director | Oasis Health Services

Aging cannot be prevented, but it is imperative to care for elderly citizens and help them live with dignity. Elderly care is all about taking care of the social and personal requirements of the senior citizens: looking after their needs and offering the requisite help without any delay to assist and embrace their physical and mental well-being.

When people grow older, they require an increase in consideration for their physical and mental well-being as it becomes more difficult to perform daily chores on their own. When elder people are provided with the proper care, it not only offers safe accessible living but also helps in supporting them and their families – to remain active within the community.

Comprehending this scenario, the emergence of elderly care facilities is assisting the golden-aged persons around the globe by offering the necessary assistance without any delays and interruptions. These organizations make them feel secure and valued as they can socialize and spend some time with people of the same age.

If one scouts for the most efficient facility that takes care of elderly citizens while embracing comprehensive caring fundamentals, one must consider visiting Oasis Health Services. It is not just an organization set up for all-inclusive management to keep the elderly within their own home environment for as long as possible, but one that focuses on maintaining the human touch and interaction, that we all deserve.

Under the leadership of Anja Stodtmeister, Owner and Director, Oasis Health Services offers elderly clients who are living alone or with working family members a safe environment during working hours, supervised by trained and experienced healthcare professionals.

Having insights into international standards of quality and safety, Anja is focused on improving care and health standards through the medium of her organization and supports the Active Aging Program.

Let us look at the roadmap that turned these social ideals into reality!

An Inspiring Journey

According to a study by Statistics South Africa, the population of people aged 60 years and older has grown from 7.6% in 2002 to 9.1% in 2020. South Africa has moved from mortalities from communicable diseases – to requiring care for people suffering from chronic diseases manifesting later in life (incl. strokes, dementia, etc.). Given the prohibitive cost of institutional care, many countries are encouraging their elderly to remain within the community setting for as long as possible.

Working as an Operational Executive in South Africa, after working many years abroad, Anja identified a gap in the market – between acute care hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, permanent retirement homes, and the patient’s home. Being of German origin, she was used to Daycare facilities for the elderly generation, where they spent their day in a safe and stimulating environment – until they reached the stage where they required 24/7 frail care.

Oasis was launched in response to the growing need for elderly and disabled care within RSA and their community. Many modern nuclear working families do not have the capacity to care for their aging relatives at home, while other families do not want Caregivers unsupervised in their home while they are at work.

Beacon of Light

As an experienced Healthcare Executive, Anja is passionate about Elderly Care, Patient Safety, Training and Development, Patient Advocacy, and Quality Management.

Anja is a Registered Nurse and Midwife registered with the South African Nursing Council. She completed her postgraduate studies in Management and Business, with specializations in Human Resource Management and Occupational Health and Safety.

Having spent 20+ years working abroad, she has gained experience at all levels of healthcare, from bedside nursing to working at the executive level. Having had great opportunities to learn from experienced mentors, she had the opportunity to commission hospitals and clinics in the Middle East and consult on Nursing Standards and Occupational Health and Safety in India.

Knowledgeable in international-level Quality Management and Occupational Health and Safety – Anja is focused on the improvement of care standards and health standard compliance.

Complimentary Businesses making Oasis stand on a Pinnacle

Oasis has three branches to its business, which complement each other.

Oasis started initially with the licensing of an Elderly Care Center that offers support to working relatives. Oasis provides an alternative to institutional care, i.e., Elderly Daycare Center – providing a safe and caring environment during working hours.

The primary motive is to provide peace of mind and keep families together while allowing working relatives to focus on their work responsibilities.

When Anja started recruiting to staff the Care Centre, she found a gap in the region for experienced Caregivers with accredited training. The next branch of its business sprang from this, i.e., getting licensed and accredited as an HWSETA/QCTO Caregiver Training Center.

When the company started receiving an abundance of CVs for all sectors, not just for the advertised caregivers – having 15+ years of recruitment experience (both locally and international) and being a registered Individual Staffing Practitioner – Recruitment became a natural extension to the business and Oasis was licensed as a Permanent Employment Agency.

Aligning Technology with Healthcare

While emphasizing the need to align technology with the organization’s offerings, Anja asserts, “Investing in technological capabilities is essential; hence large healthcare organizations employ software developers to further improve their capabilities.” She believes continuous improvement is a leading strategy that has been adopted by all successful healthcare organizations.

It is vital that healthcare leaders stay abreast of current and evolving Health Information Technology. Striving to improve clinical outcomes calls for organization-wide standardization and efficiency of clinical practices. Continuous improvement can only be attained by enabling employees through ongoing training and top-down support to effectively deliver coordinated care (including accurate and timeous patient documentation, and care delivery), providing a learning (non-punitive) work environment – to ensure the reduction of human errors and tracking data over time.

Telemedicine garnered strength and acceptability during the COVID-19 pandemic and has altered the way we practice medicine in many sectors, including Training and Development, Counselling, and Recruitment. While video conferencing is now an accepted format vs. the previous face-to-face meetings, recruitment, and negotiation forums.

A Direction to the Budding Enthusiasts

When giving out some advice to the budding entrepreneurs, Anja states, “Healthcare is more complex than many other industries and poses multiple entry barriers – from licensing (professional, Department of Health, OH&S, etc.), legal obligations, to expensive investment requirements to set up a medical project, third-party payers, etc.”

Anja narrates a few steps to the enthusiast who wishes the venture into the healthcare niche. Below are some guidelines:

  • Do your market research and risk assessment – before jumping into a project!
  • Find your passion and give it your all. Be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way upwards to understand all facets of healthcare organizations – there is no overnight success.
  • Find a mentor who is well versed and experienced in all levels of healthcare, be prepared to put in many hours of hard work and learn to manage your time effectively.
  • Be humble! Every mistake (whether yours or someone else’s) is a learning/ improvement opportunity.
  • Set realistic (SMART) goals and never be afraid to ask for clarification or advice – there is no such thing as a stupid question.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded and equally passionate colleagues, who buy into your vision, are willing to be challenged and seek job satisfaction through achievement. Remember, recognition and acknowledgement of performance is vital to retain your high performers.
  • Review your systems, processes, and policies regularly. Be willing to make changes to improve efficiency and safety – nothing is written in stone.
  • Remember to find a healthy work-life balance and lifestyle.
  • Networking with the right people is essential to breaking through in the healthcare industry.

Anja believes, “generic marketing tactics will not be as beneficial in this industry, as in others. Word of mouth advertising is the single most important aspect of marketing in this sector.”

Scaling the Future Operations of Oasis Health Services

To achieve the vision of becoming the Elderly Daycare Center of choice in the Nelson Mandela Bay region, looking at expanding its services in this region first, before making an impact on the Garden Route, Anja had set some goals to be achieved. Below are some of them.

  • Protect our business values and retain our leadership in this niche market.
  • Focus on what we want to achieve and ensure we provide consistently high-quality customer services.
  • Maintain and continue to build a dedicated team of employees. Provide a learning culture and an environment where people can and want to excel. Ensure our team is and remains engaged and motivated through recognition and reward.
  • Have established proven systems, processes, and policies for our staff to implement and follow in every new project.
  • Plan for and make sure we are prepared for the expected growth – be responsive and able to redirect quickly as needed.
  • Access outside expertise when required.