Nov 28, 2022

Aged care facility isolated by floods receives recognition

28_11_22 Baptcare.jpg rgrt

Baptcare Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has visited one of its regional aged care facilities to thank staff and volunteers and meet residents after it was completely surrounded by flood water last month.  

As flood water surrounded Kerang in Victoria and fully isolated the town, Baptcare’s Northaven facility was one of Victoria’s only aged care facilities to be cut off from surrounding services and amenities..

Geraldine Lannon, Baptcare’s CEO, visited the Northaven Community aged care facility in Kerang to meet with residents, families, volunteers and staff and present them with Certificates of Acknowledgement for their efforts.

Ms Lannon said she was impressed and moved by the way all members of the Northaven community banded together to look after each other.

“After that experience, I knew I wanted to visit Kerang myself to meet and thank the people who helped Northaven get through a potential time of crisis with flying colours,” Ms Lannon said.

“Our team had planned for this emergency… Every contingency was considered – from the availability of medications in the local pharmacy, to food supplies, staff rostering, and even the possibility that there could be more snakes in the grounds due to flooding – there were no snakes seen, but we were prepared!”

While residents were concerned for friends and family in the area, BaptCare said their residents were all “calm in the face of the flooding news” and even when all of Kerang was cut off, “life continued as usual within the home”.

As the flooding meant residents couldn’t have visitors from anyone outside of the town, volunteers increased their time in the facility to ensure everyone had a visitor every day.

The facility also organised virtual visits for residents with these loved ones via iPad and passed on their letters and emails to keep them all in contact.

“Many Northaven residents have family members living in surrounding towns or farms who were cut off from Kerang,” Ms Lannon explained. 

“We also [undertook] things like an indoor bowls tournament, extra social events and a bus tour of flood sites to keep spirits high.”

A taskforce was established in preparation for the floods, involving key staff and specialists who met constantly with the State Emergency Services (SES) and the local Council for updates and information. 

Some extra staff were also deployed from Melbourne to ensure all ran smoothly for the facility. 

While it may be a reality that all Murray Valley towns will face flooding again in future years, there is only a very small risk in the current flood event of Kerang being fully isolated again.

In the event that residents needed to be evacuated in the future, Ms Lannon said there is a helipad at the Kerang Hospital, about one block from Northaven, which can airlift residents to Bendigo or Melbourne.

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