By Hayley Gastmeier
A Greytown rest home is facing closure, with the fate of 22 residents left hanging.
Dwindling occupancy at Ultimate Care Greytown means the facility is no longer financially viable.
A proposal to close the centre has been put to staff and to residents, and their respective families.
Concerned parties had until 5pm yesterday to provide feedback to the proposal, with a final decision to be made known on May 4.
Carole Kaffes, Ultimate Care Group’s operations and clinical general manager, said yesterday the rest home had 33 available beds, but only 22 were now occupied.
She said over the past 18 months, cost reductions had been made where possible but the owners were now forced to consider the last resort, closure.
Revenue had been “steadily declining”, and with too many empty beds, the centre was not sustainable.
Ms Kaffes said one contributing factor was that many elderly people were being kept home longer than previously, and they were therefore spending less time in aged care facilities.
“We’re not seeing the occupancy like we used to see, and it’s having an impact on the age care sector.”
Ultimate Care Group has 18 facilities nationwide.
Its other facility in Wairarapa is Lansdowne Court, at the north end of Masterton, which was “doing really well”, sustaining steady resident numbers.
However, the Greytown facility was “no longer viable”.
“It’s very difficult for us to keep it going.
“We’ve tried every which way, looking for different suggestions and different ideas, but we’re marketing against other competitors with shiny new buildings.”
Staff hours at the centre had been trimmed in areas where possible, such as cleaning and laundry.
“But we won’t reduce any hours on the nursing side at all.
“We want to provide maximum care for our residents and we won’t compromise safety.”
She said routine audits had found that the centre was losing some $17,000 every three years.
On top of that, costs were continually rising.
“Food’s gone up, products have gone up, all our supplies and medical equipment are going up, as well as normal amenities, such as power.”
Everything that could be had been reduced, while still maintaining safety.
“And when you’re shaving things down to that point, are you actually providing a good quality service?
“If the answer is no, then what alternative do you have?”
Ms Kaffes said the Ultimate Care Group was speaking each day with Wairarapa District Health Board to ensure the best possible outcome for the home’s residents.
The only other rest home in Greytown is Arbor House. Its manager could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Wharekaka Rest Home in Martinborough can house 19 residents, with manager Corlette Doherty saying two beds were available.
In Carterton, there are two rest homes, Carter Court and Roseneath Lifecare.
Carter Court manager Chris Clarke said there were no vacant beds or cottages available, with people on waiting lists.
Roseneath Lifecare manager Margaret Sharp said there were free beds at the facility and it was already “working with some families” from Ultimate Care Greytown.