Residential care committee seeking help and solutions

THE group investigating a residential care facility for the elderly in Bluff has made a last-ditch plea for help before the project is shelved.
‘‘If anyone has any ideas or solutions please feel free to contact [us] within a month, otherwise we will sadly have no other option but to close the committee down,’’ secretary Jo Thomson said.
‘‘We would love to see a care facility happen, but at this point we feel we have done everything we can.’’
The 46oS Residential Care Committee was formed more than two years ago. Since then it had contacted 11 aged care provider companies and met with representatives of three, hosted public meetings, surveyed residents, discussed potential sites, met with the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) staff, investigated other community-run elderly care facilities, and visited one privately-run home, Mrs Thomson said.
After the extensive research it had become apparent the SDHB funding model would not work in Bluff, she said.
While the committee believed it could, with community support, raise the $3 million to build a 20-bed care facility, meeting ongoing running costs and keeping the beds full could be difficult.
‘‘Information from the DHB confirms the funding we would receive would be $115 per day per patient, so with a 20-bed rest-home that equates to $16,100 per week or $837,200 per annum. This is all the money you get and from that you need to pay staff etc.
‘‘That is assuming you have 20 beds full. Statistically the aged population is growing but the number of people entering rest home is decreasing, due to Government policy to keep residents in their homes.’’
Mrs Thomson said the committee had identified 34 Bluff people living in Invercargill rest homes, but could not guarantee any of them would occupy a Bluff facility.
Some people in homes would now not be funded to live in a home but would be funded for home care instead, she said.
In 2014, two members of Bluff’s Te Rau Aroha Marae, Sumaria Beaton and Jason Harrison, announced the marae was looking to create new opportunities for Bluff with plans for a new all-round community well-being facility next to the marae incorporating elderly care and maternity facilities.
Ms Beaton said on Monday those plans were put on hold pending the outcome of the 46oS committee’s work but were still ‘‘a dream and a vision’’ for the marae.
‘‘We think such a facility is still needed. There could be a possibility of the project being picked up again now.’’

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