AdventCare Victoria has announced that the AdventCare Bendigo Residential Care Facility will close next month due to increasing competition and falling occupancy.
The independent living units will continue to operate.
According to a statement from Victorian Conference president Graeme Christian, the facility has struggled to remain viable over the past 18 months, despite upgrades to older rooms, improvements in marketing pitches and investments in new equipment. These initiatives brought in some new residents, but occupancy remained too low to be considered viable. In a unanimous decision, the AdventCare board of directors voted to close the facility.
The focus is now on continuing care for the remaining residents and staff members.
“Our priority now is to ensure both residents and employees are treated with the dignity, care and respect they deserve,” Pastor Christian said.
Each resident has been offered a place in another facility in Bendigo but has the option to explore other alternatives.
Staff entitlements will be paid out in full and employees have been invited to apply for a job at another aged care provider in Bendigo that has opportunities available and where their applications will be given preference.
“It brings Conference leadership no joy to know that no other option could be found for the Bendigo facility,” said Pastor Christian. “Our hearts go out to all who will be affected as a result of this announcement.”
Conference leaders have attended Bendigo church business meetings on a number of occasions over the past 18 months to discuss the situation with members.
Elder Claude Trickey said the most important thing for the church, now that the decision had been made, was to hold onto the land, which surrounds the church on the main road.
There is no plan yet for what will happen when the facility closes.
“First we’ve got to look after the people who are in the homes. When it closes down, then we look at what we do, take one step at a time,” Mr Trickey said.
“Everybody feels different [about the closure]. They’re disappointed of course. Because they built it—240,000 hours went into building the thing. It’s gone, we’ve got to live with that, we’ve got to move forward.
“As leaders of the church you have to be positive in what you’re doing. The church is here to take the gospel to the world before Jesus comes. We are here to serve the community and under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit we will decide where to go from here.”
For now, the focus is on supporting and caring for the residents, their families, the staff and everyone who will be affected by the closure.
“Thank you for your ongoing support and prayers for residents and their families, for the staff, and the Bendigo Seventh-day Adventist Church and its community and surrounding districts,”Pastor Christian said.