A key moment for Petra came when her mother was in an Australian hospital, suffering from dementia and unable to ask for drugs or other help, because of language difficulties. It made Petra question the systems that existed, and so she worked towards developing the very best care to Elders by turning the usual medical-needs age care model on its head. Ask her to describe MiCare and she says, ‘MiCare is a linguistically and culturally diverse organisation.’ Not an aged care provider, or a supplier of migrant life skill training and other services: a linguistic and cultural organisation.
This belief in language, culture and Elders being able to tell their stories is core to Petra’s work, and she has spread this belief from Dutch care to providing care for many other cultures. Petra’s tireless work as an advocate for the provision of culturally appropriate services even saw her awarded a Dutch Knighthood by Queen Beatrix in 2013. She is proudly a member of the Order of Oranje-Nassau.
The fine print:
CEO — she said it stood for Chief Entertainment Officer — of MiCare Ltd (formerly DutchCare) and now Executive Director, since July 1991, having served on the Board of HARF (Holland Australian Retirement Foundation) for five years prior to that, mainly as treasurer.
Has a Bachelor of Business-Accounting and is a Certified Practicing Accountant, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a member of the Australian Companies Directors Institute.
For 20 years until 2017 Petra was a director of Leading Aged Services Victoria and a Chair of LASA Audit and Finance Committee and CALD Taskforce. Petra was also a director of the Netherlands Retirement Village Assosciation of Queensland. Petra is an Eden Associate and mentor and was a founding board member and past chairperson of Eden-in-Oz.
A key player in inventing the Polder Model, which has received industry acclaim both in Australia and overseas, such as the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing awarding the model its 2006 Award for Excellence and Innovation. In 2012, MiCare (then called DutchCare) received the Better Practice Award.