Staff shortages force elderly residents from aged care facilities

Apr 14, 2023
Staff shortages have been blamed for a number of aged care facility closures. Source: Getty Images.

In the wake of the closure of several residential aged care facilities in Sydney, hundreds of elderly residents have been left without a place to call home.

On Thursday, April 13, Wesley Mission announced the closure of their Sylvania, Carlingford and Narrabeen aged care facilities, with staff shortages being blamed for the decision.

Wesley has pledged to relocate all 199 residents prior to the closure of the three centers at the end of May and has appointed MyCarePath to support residents in choosing a new home.

According to government regulations, residents are not obligated to vacate until suitable accommodations have been secured.

Moreover, around 249 staff members will be reassigned to alternative roles either within the organisation or with external providers.

While announcing the closures, Wesley CEO and Superintendent, Rev Stu Cameron said, “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,” Cameron 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.

“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.

“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.”

The industry’s primary organisation, the Aged and Community Care Providers Association stated that although the shutdowns were“regrettable” it was “understandable in the current reform climate”.

Insights into the grim financial situation faced by many in the aged care sector were provided by the Q1 2022-23 Department of Health and Aged Care Quarterly Financial Snapshot, and the most recent Aged Care Sector Survey Report by StewartBrown.

According to these reports, approximately 70 per cent of providers are expected to incur a loss of $28 per resident per day.

“That is simply not sustainable,” a spokesperson told 7News.

“The aged care sector is facing enormous financial challenges and workforce shortages, at the same time that it is racing to implement the once-in-a-generation reforms.”

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