Nine frail and vulnerable men have a new and safe home in Tura Beach after a mammoth eight-hour move from the mountains.
For some of the men, the discredited Ritz nursing home at Leura had been their home for many years.
Late last year RSL LifeCare was approached by the Department of Health and Ageing to relocate a number of residents from nursing homes that were being closed by the department due to non-compliance with accreditation standards. These homes were not RSL LifeCare homes.
Following discussions with the residents concerned, nine men were offered homes at Hugh Cunningham Gardens, Tura Beach. The move required a great deal of preparation and planning beforehand by the RSL LifeCare team as the nine men had a combination of mental health and medical issues.
The team arranged to have medication and documentation available to provide care during the trip as well as to have enough food and entertainment to keep everyone occupied. As part of the initial interview process, residents had been asked about their favourite movies, music and snacks and these had been compiled to make the journey enjoyable.
A program of planned stops was undertaken ensuring residents were cared for and remained comfortable for the duration of the eight-hour trip. At 5pm, the coach arrived at Hugh Cunningham Gardens, Tura Beach.
“They were quite weary. We had additional staff on that evening. We had recently finished some refurbishments and so the timing was good,” general manager RSL LifeCare Far South Coast Pamela Roberston said.
Ms Robertson liaised with local medical officers in the week prior to the transfer, to ensure support services were aware of the transfer of residents and able to provide assistance.
“Tura Beach Medical Centre had accepted care of all nine gentlemen, which was no mean feat. A GP came across the next day and spent hours going through the paperwork and talking to the men,” Ms Robertson said.
She also had praise for Seeto, Dodd & Dwyer Merimbula Pharmacy and the support they provided the new residents.
“It was just before Christmas and the staff (at Hugh Cunningham Gardens) were fantastic. They responded with much heart; it was a lovely response from the community,” Ms Robertson said.
She said that some of the men had ended up in The Ritz because they just had no one to care for them.
However some of the men do have families and contacts have been established or re-established.
“We tried very hard to reach out and get in contact with families,” Ms Robertson said. “We now have a daughter who regularly phones her father.”