Blue Care, a not-for-profit aged care provider owned by the Uniting Church, has announced the closure of its Millbank facility in Bundaberg.
For more than 65 years, the Millbank facility has been providing residential care services to elderly residents and comprises 48 individual rooms.
The facility, located 364km north of Brisbane, has been gradually relocating its elderly residents since March 21 and is not accepting any new admissions.
In a statement, Blue Care said that the “full closure” of the facility would not occur until all residents had suitable accommodation. The provider described the process as a “planned, controlled and respectful closure” and said that arrangements were being made for the 48 staff members affected by the closure.
While the closure is disappointing for Blue Care, its residents, and their families, a spokesperson for the provider acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 on the aged care workforce, particularly in regional areas. The spokesperson added that the Millbank facility was old and required significant investment in refurbishment to meet the standards required to accommodate residents with increasing care needs.
“Our facility at Millbank is old and requires significant investment in refurbishment to bring it up to the standard required to accommodate the increasing acuity in residents entering residential aged care,” said a Blue Care spokesperson.
This is not the first time Blue Care has relocated residents from Millbank. In January 2017, 36 residents were moved out of the facility when it had a capacity of 90 beds.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has accredited the Blue Care Bundaberg Millbank Aged Care Facility until December 4. The closure of the Millbank facility underscores the challenges facing the aged care sector, particularly in regional areas, where providers are struggling to recruit and retain staff, while also meeting the changing needs of residents.