The Blue Nursing Service started when just one nurse, Olive Crombie from the West End Methodist Mission in Brisbane, took a tram to visit a patient in their own home. Today our big-hearted team in blue make more than three million visits each year, in 80 communities throughout Queensland. Along the way, our services have expanded to include aged care homes, disability supports and retirement living, while always putting our customers and their families first.
Here are some major milestones in our evolution to become one of Queensland’s largest and most-trusted providers of in-home care, residential aged care, disability services, independent and supported retirement living, and allied health services.
- The first Blue Nurse, Sister Olive Crombie, travels by tram to tend to her patients, an initiative of the West End Methodist Church, led by the Reverend Arthur Preston, whose motivation was “making possible the impossible”.
- The first car for the Blue Nursing Service, a second-hand Hillman, was donated by Redman Motors on Christmas Eve, and was soon replaced by a Fiat. The Queensland Motor Cyclists Club, meanwhile, offered “speedy” transport in case of emergency.
- The Queensland Government offers the Blue Nursing Service an initial grant of 3000 pounds, and the Commonwealth Government offers to subsidise domiciliary care.
- The Ipswich Blue Nursing service centre opens.
- The Blue Nursing Service has grown to three service centres, with plans for three more.
- The Blue Nursing Service rapidly expands and diversifies to meet communities’ needs.
- Our first residential facility, Greenhaven, opens at Labrador on the Gold Coast.
- We hold our first fundraising ‘door knock’ appeal.
- Blue Nursing Services open in more towns around Queensland, including Stanthorpe, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Mackay, Sarina, Gympie, Mt Isa and Carina Heights in Brisbane. While some of the nurses are using their own cars, fundraising and sponsorship sees more cars added to the fleet.
- We also extend our commitment to communities by providing respite care and accommodation for those who can no longer be cared for at home.
- One million yearly visits are made for the first time.
- The number, range and size of BlueCare’s services and facilities expand to keep up with demand. The Blue Nursing Service is the second-largest home nursing service in the nation, with 35 services operating.
- Our first Tutor Sister is appointed to provide education programs that foster the highest standards in patient care. Sisters with specialist skills in stomal therapy, haematology and the care of terminally ill patients are employed and in turn train other staff.
- Our first physiotherapist and the first full-time fundraiser are also employed.
- The Blue Nursing Services builds its first independent living units – at Girraween Hostel and Yoorana Place.
- The Blue Nursing Service comes under the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod, offering caring services based on the compassion of Christ.
- A Fleet Operator is appointed to look after the BlueCare Fleet.
- This is the first year that $1 million is raised through fundraising. Fundraising and bequests go a long way to bridging the gap between the funding we receive and the services we provide.
- Blue Nursing’s services dramatically expand to include allied health, palliative care, in-home respite care, day therapy and day respite centres, and much more. No less than 674 Blue Nurses deliver services throughout Queensland and accommodation is provided for customers in nursing homes, hostels and self-contained units.
- The first BlueCare Thrift Shop opens, and goes on to raise $200,000 over the next decade or so.
- Community needs are met with a full spectrum of care. The Blue Nursing Service is changed to BlueCare.
- BlueCare receives the Premier’s Award as a ‘Queensland Great’. BlueCare is recognised as being a Q150 icon.
- BlueCare partners with research organisations and government to develop best practice in residential aged care; delivering home and community care services in complex family situations; chronic disease management; and wound care. The Human Research Ethics Committee is also established.
- BlueCare receives the Queensland Government Reconciliation Award and launches eight scholarships for First Nations employees to study a Diploma of Nursing.
- BlueCare evacuates and cares for high-risk and vulnerable people from flood and cyclone-hit areas of Queensland.
- Azure Blue Redcliffe’s first integrated site opens, integrating residential aged care, community care and retirement living services on the one site.
- BlueCare partners with the University of Queensland to launch the first aged care management course in the state.
- BlueCare delivers seamless, integrated, person-centred care as we celebrate our 60th anniversary. Our 10,000-strong team of staff and volunteers deliver care to 13,000 people every day.
- Brisbane’s Story Bridge is bathed in blue light to commemorate our anniversary.
- BlueCare welcomes Elders Villages and drug and alcohol services for First Nations people in Townsville, Cairns, Cape York and Thursday Island, which will go on to become Pinangba, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led community services.
- BlueCare partners with a local hospital to pilot a palliative care approach allowing people the dignity and comfort of spending their last days at home with their loved ones. Across our community services, BlueCare provides palliative care to more than 500 people every week.
- BlueCare’s fleet grows to 1500, of which 8 per cent are petrol/electric hybrids.
- BlueCare receives the Organisation Award for the 2014 Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) Queensland Aged Care Awards, celebrating excellence across the not-for-profit aged and community care sector.
- BlueCare establishes Hospital in the Home, where patients can be treated for acute conditions in the home as an alternative to staying in hospital.
- BlueCare is inducted into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame in recognition of our national leadership and outstanding contribution to developing world-class services in aged care throughout Queensland communities.
- BlueCare opens its Customer Service Centre.
- BlueCare receives the Humanitarian Award from international workforce learning management organisation SABA, for its humanitarian services, social projects, community programs and initiatives.
- BlueCare acquires Fraser Shores Retirement Village in Hervey Bay to better serve residents and the community through integrated services.
- BlueCare adopts the Montessori Environments program for people living with dementia, with philanthropic funding support. The program designs environments to support clients to retain their independence and freedom, by offering meaningful activities aligned to personal interests.
- We celebrate our 65th anniversary.
- BlueCare opens the Live Well Centre, a state-of-the-art allied health and specialist health service at the Morayfield Health Hub.
- BlueCare joins with UnitingCare to deliver Project SEARCH, an internship program for people with disability.
- BlueCare tests virtual reality technology in aged care homes.
- BlueCare endeavours to keep people connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the launch of CareApp in residential aged care facilities, where residents and staff can share photos of the day’s activities with family members.
- Solar panels are added to 22 BlueCare aged care homes.
- Energy-efficiency upgrades are made at 29 aged care homes, and recycling initiatives are rolled out in 20 facilities.
- Electric vehicle charging stations are trialled at four BlueCare sites.
- BlueCare is voted Australia’s Most Trusted Brand in the Home Care and Residential Aged Care categories for Queensland in the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands Survey; and is awarded the Gold Winner for home care services in Queensland in the 2023 Quality Service Awards.
- BlueCare introduces the BlueCare App, allowing customers to manage their home care visits online.
- BlueCare is voted Australia’s Most Trusted Brand for home care in Queensland for the second year in a row.
- Hybrid vehicles make up 71 per cent of our passenger fleet.
- We celebrate our 70-year milestone as our bright team in blue is more than 8,000 strong, making more than 3.5 million visits to Queenslanders each year, and providing the same holistic care, service and companionship that has been our hallmark from the very beginning.
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