With the federal government's spotlight firmly on Australia's aged care sector, it is comforting to know that the Port's largest aged care facility is getting on with the job of providing the best in care, service and facilities to the area's ageing population.
Since the Royal Commission was established a little over 12 months ago the industry has been stung with horror stories of inadequate care, staffing issues and greedy operators.
The not-for-profit Port Stephens Veterans & Citizens Aged Care Ltd operates three sites at Shoal Bay (Harbourside Haven), Fingal Bay and Salamander Bay, supporting hundreds of elderly in various levels of care.
Board chairman Gerry Mohan, who along with the company's CEO Sheree Gemmell has made a submission to the inquiry, said he hoped the inquiry would provide solutions to one of the biggest challenges the industry faced: that of ensuring there are an adequate number of qualified nursing staff.
"There is a shortage of registered nurses available, which is an area we have identified as needing attention, and ensuring we have enough staff to fill the beds," Mr Mohan said.
"We are also conscious of providing updated facilities for staff, residents and their families."
With that in mind, the company's oldest building - the Harbourisde Haven nursing home which was opened in November 1985 - has just received a $2.5 million upgrade.
"The refurbishment which included modification to all rooms plus communal areas, corridors and staff facilities were completed over 18 months. Upgrade of the main entry foyer and courtyard will commence early in the new year," Mr Mohan said.
Facility manager of 27 years, Kerrie Williams, said that the renovations had turned the old, tired building into a far more decorative and inviting place for residents to live and visitors to visit. "It has also lifted the morale among the staff, providing them with a cleaner, more pleasant environment."
"The upgrade of the central courtyard allows for easy access and a pleasant place the whole family can enjoy. All of our residents rooms have been modified to allow easy access and are wheelchair friendly."
Other modifications include palliative care room, visitor and resident lounges while the nursing room floor has been completely refurbished. Margaret Money, a resident of Fingal Bay, is a frequent visitor to her husband Alan at the Shoal Bay nursing home.
"The extensions are wonderful. It really is a first class facility now."
A second stage refurbishment, which includes the dining, lounge, reception and second courtyard areas, is expected in the new year.