Nursing home shutdown referred to Aged Care Royal Commission

The aged care provider involved in the shutdown of a Gold Coast nursing home has denied doing anything wrong and has welcomed a full investigation into the centre’s closure.

It comes as Earle Haven Retirement Village is referred to the Aged Care Royal Commission and has been hit with federal sanctions.

It’s also been banned from taking any new residents for six months.


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The nursing home shut down suddenly on Thursday after staffed walked out because of an ongoing payment dispute between contractor Help Street and the Retirement Village’s owners People Care.

70 residents had to be evacuated to other nursing homes and to local hospitals.

Help Street denies it abandoned the residents, with CEO Kris Bunker insisting the decision to close the facility was made in conjunction with health officials.

“This situation is unprecedented and complicated. In seven years since I founded Help Street, I have never experienced anything like what we saw last week, it was heart breaking,” Mr Bunker said.

“Our priority has always and always will be people.”

Mr Bunker has backed the decision to refer the closure to the Aged Care Royal Commission and says they will fully co-operate.

“We welcome a full investigation into the closure of Earle Haven facility last week.

“We’re doing everything we can to assist the federal department with their inquiry and fully support a Police investigation. We have nothing to hide.”

Help Street has also denied its staff were responsible for the removal of patients’ medications and medical records and has called on People Care to release CCTV footage from the facility to prove who was behind it.

“I can assure you that no Help Street staff were told to remove medications or anything relevant to the delivery of care,” Mr Bunker said.

“Like all of you I have serious questions over what happened to residents’ medications.”

Mr Bunker confirmed Help Street had created electronic medical records but they are secure and they did not physically remove records from the facility.

Several hundred permanent residents living in independent units met this morning to try and get some answers about the situation gripping the retirement village.

People Care denied that they are in receivership and assured residents they are safe.

It also described last week’s events as “unprecedented” and a “disaster”.

Despite the assurances, Bernie O’Connor from the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union says there is still plenty of uncertainty.

“It was just overwhelming, the stress and people feeling very unsure,” Ms O’Connor said.

“It wasn’t a very pleasant meeting but at the end of the day, I think the fact we can sometimes look at headlines, but it’s the reality of the 800 other residents here that are feeling it and feeling unsure.”

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