The future of aged care in Whyalla is looking positive after provider Helping Hand announced it will take over from Kindred Living.

Key points:

  • The Helping Hand takeover offers some security for aged care in the town
  • There are “no immediate plans” to reopen Annie Lockwood Court
  • Giles MP Eddie Hughes says a long-term strategy is needed to address the staffing shortage

Chief executive Chris Stewart said the company would enter into a year-long management plan.

“We will look to integrate over the next 12 months after a period of transition and management,” Mr Stewart said.

“We are doing it through a management agreement, we are taking over all the operations and reporting to the Kindred Living board.”

The deal comes after Kindred Living was forced to close its Annie Lockwood facility in September, leaving almost 40 residents with less than a month to find new places to live.

The decision was blamed on staffing problems and a difficult year for the sector.

Chairperson Tim Weiss said Helping Hand taking over was positive news.

“This is a really good news story for aged care in Whyalla,” Mr Weiss said.

“Like many regional residential aged care facilities, we faced ongoing skilled staff shortages and we will be working through these challenges in the months ahead with Helping Hand.”

Mr Stewart said Helping Hand would work to improve the quality of the remaining two Whyalla facilities.

“We will be looking at more investment into Yeltana Nursing Home and Copperhouse Court,” he said.

“Particularly Yeltana, which needs to be brought up to more contemporary standards … at the moment it has shared bathrooms.”

Mr Stewart said there were “no immediate plans” to reopen Annie Lockwood Court.

“That was a difficult decision that had to be made due to a severe lack of staffing,” he said.

Staffing crisis continues

While Whyalla’s Kindred Living facilities have been saved, the aged care sector continues to grapple with a shortage of skilled staff.

Giles MP Eddie Hughes said a long-term strategy was needed to solve the crisis.

A smiling, bald man in a dark suit.

Eddie Hughes says Whyalla will still suffer from staff shortages.(Supplied: ALP)

“A much bigger organisation coming in may be helpful,” he said.

“But we are still going to be left with this profound issue in Whyalla.

“Earlier this year approximately 166 nursing homes in regional Australia were at risk of closure and 78 per cent are operating at a loss.

Mr Stewart said establishing a strong skilled staff workforce in Whyalla would be a focus.

“Regional aged care providers are experiencing a lot of stress at the moment, with a chronic shortage of workforce,” he said.

“We have more than 2,000 staff at Helping Hand and we are certain we will be able to grow the services in Kindred Living.”

Helping Hand announces aged care takeover in Whyalla
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