Sunbury aged care blow

By Jessica Micallef

Nearly 30 elderly residents will have to find a new home and 40 staff will be left without jobs when a Sunbury aged care facility closes its doors.

The Sunbury Lions Community Aged Care Facility in Timins Street is expected to close on March 13 after nearly 30 years in operation.

Sunbury Community Health, which owns the facility, announced the decision on Thursday.

Sunbury Community Health chief executive Phillip Ripper said the site was “no longer suitable” for running an aged care facility.

“It’s 30-years-old [and] it was designed as a hostel,” he said. “It needs to operate to higher levels of care and we believe we can no longer provide a safe and suitable operation.

“The scale of the facility is small. There are 33 beds. It is a small facility by industry standards.

“Primarily it’s a concern for safety for residents and staff.”

Currently there are 29 residents living at the home. Mr Ripper said all costs of relocation would be covered by Sunbury Community Health and resident accommodation bonds and accommodation deposits would be refunded.

“We’ve engaged with a team and they have met with all families, but one or two, about their needs and preferences and to help manage the move to a new facility. That includes sorting out all the paperwork,” he said.

“We are working with every family and every resident to find a new facility of their choice that will meet their needs.”

Mr Ripper said the closure was not a financial decision. Staff entitlements for the 40 employees will be paid in full.

“We have carers, cleaners, cooks and nurses, all largely casual and part-time,” he said.

“We are assisting them with resume writing, interview skills [and] job seeking.

“There are a number of existing not-for-profit and local homes that we are working with and [who] have got space to accommodate residents and staff.

“The community health centre is strong, vibrant and growing and we have the cash available to immediately repay all the accommodation bonds and pay all staff.”

Mr Ripper anticipates the Sunbury Lions Community Aged Care Facility will close on March 13 but he said he would ensure all residents and their families are looked after before the shutdown.

“We will not close the doors until every resident has found a suitable home,” he said.

The aged care facility opened in 1991 as a hostel with approval to care for 26 residents