Apr 13, 2023

Three aged care homes close in NSW as others continue to open

Wesley2

All three of the Wesley Mission Sydney aged care facilities have been scheduled for closure at the end of May, as impending regulatory changes take effect on July 1.

The closure of Wesley Mission’s Sylvania, Narrabeen and Carlingford facilities is a byproduct of new policies which will require Registered Nurses to be on-site at all hours, in order to care for residents.

The sector has had ongoing systemic issues with staff burnoutturnover and incentivising new workers to enter the aged care industry, with a 15% wage increase implemented by the Fair Work Commission to address the shortages.

Despite the unfortunate closure of the three facilities, Wesley Mission enlisted the services of home and residential care coordinator, My Care Path, to ensure that none of the nearly 200 residents would be displaced.

“The aged care sector is experiencing challenges to workforce and flow-on impacts from the national reforms to aged care. Wesley Mission supports these once-in-a-generation reforms, improving quality for all care users,” Rev Stu Cameron, Wesley Mission’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said.

“It is, however, a challenging environment to be a smaller provider. With just three aged care locations, our offering in this area is small compared to the large and diverse range of community services we provide around NSW and across Australia.”

Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells, had previously disclosed that 1-in-20 facilities would be unable to meet the July quota.

Although the closure of Wesley Mission’s Tebbutt facility in 2022 had, instead, been driven by the age of the facility, the impact of COVID-19 and following a broader review of operations.

Wesley aged care workers have been promised support in finding work, as the mission pivots towards other means of helping older NSW residents.

“At this stage, we anticipate closing our centres at the end of May 2023, and before then, we will be doing all we can to support residents in choosing a new home that meets their needs.

“We will also be supporting affected staff to find a new role, or with assistance to find a role at a different provider,” said Mr Cameron.

“The strength of our aged care services has always been the dedicated partnership of residents, families, staff and partners to provide quality care – we’re grateful for everyone who has invested in these communities.

“Wesley Mission’s support for older people in NSW continues, focusing on providing in-home care and retirement living to help people stay in their homes for longer.”

It’s not all doom and gloom, as Signature Aged Care recently proved that the sector is not yet defeated by the quota being rolled out in July, opening their first facility in Singleton, WA, on the same day as Wesley Mission’s public announcement.

Family owned business Signature Care have added the 144 bed home to the catalogue of residential facilities opened by the company in the past 12 months, including Wagga Wagga, NSW; Cardinia, Vic and Maryborough, Qld.

These four new facilities opened by Signature Care in the same time period as the four Wesley Mission closures go to show that when one door closes, another opens and CEO Graeme Croft is far from deterred.

Data from the Department of Health and Aged Care Quarterly Financial Snapshot of the Aged Care Sector (Q1 2022-23), along with the latest Aged Care Sector Survey Report by StewartBrown offer some insight into the dire financial circumstances surrounding many in the sector, with 70% of providers estimated to lose $28 dollars per resident per day.

In a statement addressing the closure, the Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) referred to the announcement as “regrettable but understandable in the current reform climate.”

ACCPA also called on providers to contact the Department of Health and Aged Care to discuss potential grants and the Structural Adjustment Program, which aims to help providers continue to operate.

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