About half the residents of a Whyalla nursing home facing imminent closure are yet to secure accommodation just weeks out from the facility shutting its doors.
- The Annie Lockwood Court Hostel will shut by the end of the month
- About half the remaining residents have secured accommodation but the others are in limbo
- The SA Premier met with the local council on Friday
Late last month, Kindred Living — the operator of the Annie Lockwood Court Hostel in the South Australian regional city — revealed the facility would be closing in less than four weeks.
The site is home to 37 residents and was affected by a scabies outbreak last year. While the operator has acknowledged “some quality issues”, it said it could not find enough skilled staff or nurses to keep the facility afloat.
SA Premier Steven Marshall said he spoke with the local mayor and council on Friday for an update on the facility’s plight.
He said while aged care was a federal responsibility, the SA government was “looking at all options to support those people”.
“This is a very difficult situation that the residents in Whyalla, and their families, are currently facing,” he said.
So far, 19 residents have been able to secure accommodation, leaving 18 still in limbo.
Family members of residents today held a protest against the closure.
“We can’t afford for it to close. We can’t lose the beds here, we just can’t,” said Kylie Batt, who attended the rally in honour of her mother, a resident who died last week.
“We’ve got an ageing population and if anything, we need more.”
Earlier this year, Kindred Living’s two other local nursing homes — where some residents have moved to — were found to be in breach of aged care standards.
The company has said it is addressing the problems but blamed the breaches on staff being spread too thinly.
Mark Cunningham’s father is among the residents yet to secure a bed somewhere else.
The Council on the Ageing’s SA chief executive Jane Mussared said the situation was reflected across rural SA.
“This is a problem beyond Whyalla and indeed cropping up in regions on a statewide basis,” she said.
“This has a very real risk of causing great upheaval in people’s lives and causing them to move away from communities that they love.”
In a letter to residents last week, Kindred Living chief executive Juanita Walker said the operators would “continue to work closely with residents, families and other care providers to find alternative accommodation”.
“We will ensure any alternative accommodation meets each resident’s long-term care needs and no resident will leave Annie Lockwood or our care until appropriate alternatives are found,” she said.
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