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Community & Business

24 May, 2021

Beauaraba Living’s $9.1m expansion unveiled

Tuesday marked a momentous occasion for Beauaraba Living aged care home as it officially opened its new state-of-the-art facilities – a wellness centre and two memory support cottages.

From left, Executive Assistant to the General Manager and Director of Care Services and Administration Manager Kate Hanley, Federal Member for Groom Garth Hamilton, Beauaraba Living’s Board Chairman Graham Clapham, General Manager of Beauaraba Living Alex Metcalf, and Director of Care Services Janet Newlands all attended the official opening of Beauaraba Living’s new memory support units and wellness centre on Tuesday.

Approximately thirty distinguished guests, including Federal Member for Groom Garth Hamilton, attended the ceremony to witness the unveiling of the $9.1 million expansion.

Beauaraba Living’s Chairman of the Board Graham Clapham said the funding for the project came from a number of sources.

“There was $2.3 million of grant funding from the federal government, generous support from local organisations and benefactors, and the rest of that funding, totalling almost $7 million, came from internal sources,” Mr Clapham said.

Mr Clapham said the federal government funding and generous donations from the community, including Lyn and Bobbie Brazil and the McLean organisation, is what enabled Beauaraba to complete the expansion.

“When we began this task, if it was down to our own funding sources it would’ve taken a long time to get to the stage we’re at today, so the inclusion of the federal grant money and generous community donations in the building process enabled us to do it effectively and efficiently while the contractors were on site, enabling us to complete the design and the whole task in one go,” he said.

Beauaraba Living started as a small private hospital in the 1980s and over the years has undergone much development, growing from a 41 bed aged care facility to housing 128 residents today.

This growth in resident numbers presents the need for continuous facility upgrades and expansions.

“It’s an ongoing process because as the needs of care change, any facility who is going to continue to meet those needs has to change with industry standards and new learnings and new technologies,” Mr Clapham said.

“It’s a natural part of progression of the industry.”

The most recent expansion has seen the inclusion of a wellness centre and two 13 bed cottages for dementia patients.

The new wellness centre will primarily function as a gym, but also provides a space for residents to see allied health professionals, thanks to the new consultation rooms that have been integrated into the area.

The new memory support cottages, housing 26 residents in total, have been named after nearby locations –Brookstead and Pampas.

Beauaraba Living’s Director of Care Services Janet Newlands said these two new wings have been designed to incorporate Montessori methods for dementia.

“They’ve been totally designed around dementia principles and for independence and dignity for residents,” Ms Newlands said.

“When you look at the building there are walls that you can actually see through, specific colour combinations and tonal differences with the furnishings, red colourings in the kitchen, and induction technology so residents can actually see and choose what they’re having to eat.

“We call it memory support, which is what we’re doing, we’re supporting the memory so that people can live a meaningful life.”

Groom MP Garth Hamilton said when you walk through the cottages it is hard to believe they are part of an aged care facility.

“It’s surprising how good the facilities are, they may well be some of the best accommodation in Pittsworth,” Mr Hamilton said.

“It’s great to see the staff so happy and smiling, and the residents are clearly comfortable with the care they’re given. 

“I think probably the key thing about this facility is that it’s not just about the residents, it’s about the community that supports.

“All the people that work here, all the people that are part of the supply chain are a really important asset in the Pittsworth community.”

The opening of these facilities are a welcome sight following the shocking discoveries of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety which recently shone a negative light on the aged care industry, something Mr Clapham said has greatly upset those that work at high standard aged care facilities like Beauaraba Living.

“I think it’s unjust the way the whole industry has been tarnished by the actions of a few,” Mr Clapham said.

“It’s cast a whole negative cloud over the residential aged care sector.”

The horrific revelations have resulted in the federal government announcing funding last week to go towards improving the sector and upgrading aged care homes to be more like Beauaraba, which Mr Hamilton said is leading the way with their outstanding facilities.

“The government is putting $17.7 billion into aged care and that funding will go a long way to make sure that other facilities around the nation, quite frankly, catch up with the standard we see here at Beauaraba,” Mr Hamilton said.

“The results we saw from the aged care inquiry clearly show there were things that needed to be done.

“What we’ve put on the table is $17.7 billion of directed, targeted funding to make sure that we do make those improvements.”

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