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A functioning community of carers and elderly, one 111 years old, was broken up and scattered when a bitter dispute between the owner and the manager of this nursing home ended with the home being closed. Government saw this as a commercial dispute, which gave it precedence over community. It refused to intervene to protect the residents and staff.
Blackburn Aged Care Facility
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Nominees and Locksley Manor Pty Ltd
On the Hastings Nursing Home page I have described the diffferent understandings of care and the effect of size and management on the more intimate understanding of that word as a product of small group relationships.
Many factors can disrupt the family like structure of interrelating people which builds up caring relationships in nursing homes. I examined the impact of size and objective standards on this.
Blackburn was another small and intimate nursing home. The managers were dedicated and it seems that standards were initially maintained.
In the competitive commercial environment created by the government in 1997/8 residents are simply the commodities from which the company generates its profits. They are part of a commercial enterprise in which their welfare and lives comes a poor second to commercial considerations. As a consequence they get short changed when there are commercial disputes.
This is well illustrated by what happened at Blackburn Aged Care Facility. The licence holder is listed as Locksley Manor Pty Ltd.
Essentially the owner had applied for a licence to run the nursing home and the managers who had leased the facilities, held the current licence, and operated the home for 8 years were to go.
There was a bitter dispute as staff and residents strongly supported the current managers. The department "mediated" but the laws passed in 1997 prevented it from taking action to protect the residents in what they saw as a commercial dispute.
As a consequence the home closed, which may or may not have been the intention of the owner. The close knit "family" of carers and residents was broken up.
The community of frail elderly, one aged 111 was broken up and had to find new accommodation. A functioning and caring community of carers lost their jobs and were scattered as they sought new employment.
Under the government's policies as exemplified by the 1997 nursing home "reforms" the market had ceased to be a functionuing and subservient part of a balanced society. Instead society had become a part of the marketplace and was subservient to its structures and requirements.
ELDERLY residents are living with uncertainty as a battle for bed licences rages at a Blackburn aged care home.
Mar 2006 A dispute between landlord and operator
The Victorian and Civil Administrative Tribunal will decide next month who will get the 30 bed licences attached to the Blackburn Aged Care Facility.
The managers and licence holders Graham and Susan Dart want to transfer the bed licences to a new facility and take the residents with them.
But landlord Navatha Nominees wants to take over the home and employ Universal Care Management as manager.
The Darts have managed the home since 1998 but refused to sign a five-year lease last year, about the same time Navatha Nominees was approved as an aged care provider by the Federal Department of Health and Aged Care.
Mr Dart said the home was "becoming unviable" and would fail to meet the Federal Government's standards set for 2010.
"The building's cracking, the roof leaks," he said.
Michael Laracy said he wanted the Darts and their staff to continue the care of his mother, 95, who lives at the home.
"They care for the residents as if they were their own family and it would be a shame to see them leave," Mr Laracy said.
He said the failure of Navatha directors Paul and Bill Devlet to attend a recent meeting had added to the uncertainty.
But Mr Devlet said he was committed to keeping the home open, with as many of the current staff as possible.
Aged home bed licence battle rages Whitehorse Leader March 15, 2006
THE looming closure of a Melbourne nursing home will leave Australia's oldest citizen homeless.
Jul 2006 Home to close
And her family fears it may also claim her life.
Great-grandmother Myra Nicholson, 111, has made an impassioned plea to Prime Minister John Howard to intervene in the case.
"Why should I have to move? This is my home, I like it here and the people here.
"It's like one big family."
A bitter stand-off between the approved providers who run the nursing home and the landlord is at the centre of the dispute.
They are concerned that the home's 30 residents will lose out if the Darts, who have operated the home for eight years, are made to relinquish their licence.
The home's landlord, Paul Devlet, has applied to the Department of Health and Ageing to become an approved provider, which means he would take over the day-to-day care of residents.
But residents and staff said they would rather walk out.
"There's 100 per cent opposition to him," an insider said.
The Darts said they could not comment for legal reasons.
Help me, Mr Howard At 111, oldest Aussie Myra faces eviction Sunday Herald Sun July 2, 2006
Leader reported on the dispute back in March this year but mediation talks between the parties have failed.
Jul 2006 Department could not intervene
Now the home's 30-bed licence is likely to be sold to a third party and transferred to a new or different facility.
Department of Health and Ageing spokeswoman Kay McNiece said the Government could not save the home because it was a private enterprise.
"The department has been tirelessly trying to mediate between the two parties. At the end of the day it's an argument between two commercial parties," Ms McNiece said.
Without a home at 111 Whitehorse Leader July 5, 2006
A HEARTBROKEN Myra Nicholson, Australia's oldest person, farewelled her nursing home in tears this week.
Jul 2006 Tears all around
The 111-year-old woman known affectionately as "Nicky" was wheeled from the Blackburn Aged Care Facility on Friday as staff and other residents broke down around her.
"I don't feel too good," she said over her last cup of tea at her home of eight years.
"I will miss everyone."
Tearful staff have begun seeking new work, saying they would prefer to work with the existing carers.
"We're like a family and this is awful for everyone," said manager Avril Walter.
Residents continue to leave due to their uncertain future.
Shadow aged care minister Jan McLucas said the Government had known about the dispute since February, but had done nothing.
She said a loophole in the Aged Care Act meant the department could not intervene in private business dealings.
"A failing in the Act has rendered the department useless," she said.
"I know they've had these problems before, but this minister and previous ministers have done nothing about it."
Aged Care Minister Santo Santoro described the decision to shut the facility before September as "disappointing".
The landlord cannot run the facility unless the Department of Health and Ageing grants him the required status.
A woman who identified herself as Mr Devlet's wife when contacted by the Sunday Herald Sun said: "I don't want to talk to you, but we are willing to sue you."
Frail, tearful and 111 years old, Myra is forced to move home That's no way to treat a lady Sunday Herald Sun July 9, 2006
Residents' families last week criticised the federal Department of Health and Ageing for not doing enough to save the home.
Jul 2006 Commerce has precedence over humanity and community
But Mr Baressi said the Government had no power to intervene.
"It is an unfortunate situation. But it is a commercial dispute," he said.
Moved out at 111 Whitehorse Leader July 12, 2006
For Updates:- A good way to check for recent developments in aged care is to go to the aged care crisis group's search page and enter the name of the company, nursing home or key words relating to any other matter in the search box. Most significant press reports are flagged there. The aged care crisis web site has recently been restructured and some of the older links used from this site may not work.
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This page created Sept 2006 by Michael Wynne