Aged Care Bed Numbers for the Bright Health Precinct Project
Media Release | 24 November 2021
The Bright Health Precinct Project has proposed a suite of developments to secure the future of health care for the Bright and district community. The center piece of the precinct model is the new residential aged care facility, built to high care need to enable ageing in place.
Assessment of the residential aged care needs of the Bright and district community has identified a 49 bed residential aged care facility, consisting of 7 pods each of 7 private beds and facilities, as the desired longer term outcome for the community.
The residential aged care facility development is proposed in stages, with the initial build commencing with 35 beds. The first stage development of 35 beds is capable of meeting current aged care demands experienced within the community and appeals as a more fundable development for government in the current health environment.
Determining the optimal number of beds to provision in Bright that can accommodate high needs clients and enable ageing in place is an important question in the development of the Bright Health Precinct. Population data, health sector policy, and existing aged care service provision are each important factors in the analysis of appropriate bed numbers under the proposed Bright precinct development.
The Alpine Shire is home to an ageing demographic, with a median age of 49 compared to the Victorian average of 37, with low population growth projected to 2036.
Analysis shows the demand for residential aged care is changing. Government policy and personal preference is supporting people to age in their homes for much longer and receive the appropriate nursing and other supports, to do so. Population patterns of behaviour increasingly highlight a tendency for people to enter aged care at an older age, with care needs that more complex and advanced and with shorter length of stays. This shift is evident through Alpine Health’s growth of home based services that now provide care to over 600 people, including 130 home care packages.
In addition to the proposed residential aged care facility, the Bright Health Precinct identifies the build of up to six social housing units for older members of the community to live independently, adjacent to the existing six units, whilst the repurposing of Hawthorn Village as an educational facility will also provide for three independent living units that can be used flexibly for aged care respite and temporary key health worker housing. With the existing 9 Acute Hospital beds the health precinct project holds the potential for a total of 59 beds to be used flexibly to meet the health needs of the community following the initial first stage build.
The addition of a 35 aged care residential facility will ensure the Alpine Shire has access to 166 ageing in place beds, supporting the care needs for people residing in Mount Beauty, Myrtleford, and Bright and district communities, and aligns with the residential aged care provisioning ratio that identifies bed need on the basis of population.
The approach taken in the precinct strategy is to determine the optimal number of aged care beds for now, based on the estimated demand, development cost, likely funding, efficiency of operations perspective (driven by staff ratios); and also to provision in planning, particularly site and architectural work, for future development stages should as the need emerges.
Quotes attributable to Nick Shaw, Alpine Health CEO
“We are incredibly fortunate to have cross government support for the comprehensive Bright Health Precinct project that addresses the lack of high aged care facilities and other health needs of the Bright and district communities now and into the future”.
“The Bright and Alpine communities can show their support of the Bright Health Precinct model by signing Indi federal independent MP Dr Helen Haines's petition for a new aged care facility and sharing it with their networks: actionnetwork.org”.
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