Residents anxious as future of Roy Wotton Gardens aged care facility remains unknown

The future of Roy Wotton Gardens has been a source of great anxiety in recent days. Photo: Denise Dion
The future of Roy Wotton Gardens has been a source of great anxiety in recent days. Photo: Denise Dion

Since the first indications last Friday that Roy Wotton Gardens may be facing closure, forcing the current 24 aged residents to relocate to other facilities, there has been some progress with communication.

RSL Lifecare director of operations Matthew Filocamo met with mayor Russell Fitzpatrick, Kristy McBain MP and Alice Howe from Bega Valley Shire Council on Monday afternoon.

Karen Butchers, whose 98-year-old mother is currently housed at Roy Wotton, also met with the trio and then spoke to Mr Filocamo on the phone.

"Staffing was highlighted as a major problem across local aged care facilities and hospitals and the mayor and RSL Lifecare discussed working to overcome shortages," Ms Butchers said.

It's understood RSL Lifecare will begin an advertising campaign for additional staff for its three local homes.

24 residents and their families have been in discussion with RSL Lifecare and council representatives since the initial notification of changes last Friday. Photo: Denise Dion

24 residents and their families have been in discussion with RSL Lifecare and council representatives since the initial notification of changes last Friday. Photo: Denise Dion

"Residents are still feeling very anxious, but know that their families and community are doing everything in their power to ensure the facility will remain open," Ms Butchers said.

"Aged Care is a federal responsibility. Mr Filocamo told me government grants can only be applied for for infrastructure which does not include medical needs for facilities and that RSL Lifecare already apply for all funding available.

"He said the government is not offering any increase in low care funding as he feels their strategy is to reduce costs by encouraging older people to remain in their own homes. High care residents need twice the funding," Ms Butchers said.

It's understood 14 rooms currently vacant at Hugh Cunningham Gardens in Tura Beachhave been empty since last year's COVID lockdown in case of an outbreak in any of the three local homes, to safeguard residents against potential exposure and that these will remain vacant until the risk of COVID abates.

Additionally, Ms Butchers made contact with the Aged Care Complaints Commission on Monday and spoke at length to a representative.

"Aged care providers must comply firstly with the agreed security of tenure that is made with the resident, meaning if the facility closes, for example, providing accommodation that meets the immediate needs of the resident, has the same financial terms and is of similar comfort level," Ms Butchers said.

"The first letter we received did not meet any of the legal protocols and procedures, or that of RSL Lifecare, but Mr Filocamo's follow-up letter rescinded the first letter and properly began damage control and correct procedure by coming to Eden and speaking to residents, staff, and family members.

"That means there are no grounds for an official complaint at the present time, but the information I gave was recorded, meaning the situation has been tagged by the commission and noted by the Department of Health," Ms Butchers said.

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This story Residents anxious as future of Roy Wotton Gardens aged care facility remains unknown first appeared on Magnet.