Council backs aged care plan

GLOUCESTER Shire Council has thrown its support behind a proposal to build a new residential aged care facility in town.

Nambucca Valley Care is in the process of developing a proposal for a residential aged care facility and self-contained villas on a site owned by council adjacent to Gloucester High School. 

Council’s general manager said negotiations with Nambucca Valley Care commenced in July last year.

He said council had given its full support to the proposal.

“Aged care in Gloucester is a long term identified need,” Mr Green said.

“People want to be able to retire and live in their own town.”

Mr Green said any facility could employ as many as 80 staff.

Council has formed a steering committee which will be tasked with identifying what type of aged care service should be provided. 

The two options currently being explored are community care and residential aged care.

Community care includes programs to enable older people to maintain a level of independence while residential care targets those that can no longer live in their own home.

Nambucca Valley Care chief executive John Butler is a member of the steering committee as are representatives from Hunter New England (HNE) Health.

HNE Health currently manages the existing aged care facilities at Hillcrest, Narraweema and Kimbarra.

According to the Lower Mid North Coast Clinical Services Plan released last year, Gloucester will experience a 40 per cent increase in the number of people over the age of 85 by 2021.

HNE Health has said it had begun discussions with key stakeholders about the future management of aged care facilities in Gloucester.

“Aged care services are normally overseen by the Commonwealth, which funds private and non-government organisations to provide aged care,” the HNE Health director of operations for district hospitals and community networks Susan Heyman said.

“Hunter New England Health is committed to continuing work with the Commonwealth and private providers to determine who is best placed to provide aged care services in Gloucester.

“Aged care residents, their families and staff will also be included in these discussions and in the meantime will continue to receive the highest quality care throughout the process.

“Gloucester Hospital will continue to provide acute hospital services as normal into the future.”

Council has put together a survey of aged care and support services which it will distribute to Gloucester residents in the coming weeks.

Mr Green said he anticipated Nambucca Valley Care would seek Commonwealth support for the project ahead of the next round of federal funding in June.

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