Nursing home residents relocated after sudden closure

UPDATE at 9:45 AM | PARAMEDICS and Health staff are being hailed as heroes for rescuing more than 70 elderly residents from a Gold Coast retirement village after it shut without warning on Thursday.

Staff walked out of the Earle Haven nursing home in Nerang following a drawn-out pay dispute, abandoning elderly residents in their beds.

Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, Queensland’s Health Minister Steven Miles said an emergency operation to rescue and relocate the home’s residents was completed just after 1am.


The Queensland Ambulance Service sent 32 paramedics to assist in the operation, while Gold Coast Health sent a dozen staff to the site.

Mr Miles said the response was akin to that usually seen during a flood or a cyclone.

“This was effectively an emergency response,” he said.

“Our health teams have transferred around 70 residents to other accommodation, including three to hospitals who are in a stable condition.

“The paramedics and health staff worked swiftly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these residents.”

But Mr Miles said the fact the facility was closed without warning over a contract dispute was “disgraceful”.

“Families trust these private aged care providers to care for their loved ones and to see them put profits ahead of that care is disgusting,” he said.

“The Federal Government must launch a full investigation into how this could have possibly happened and I have written to the Federal Aged Care Minister.”

Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon spent most of the evening on site helping residents and families.

She also praised the efforts of paramedics and health care workers, who she said “did an incredible job”.

“Gold Coasters should be proud of how their public health system responded yesterday,” Ms Scanlon said.

“It’s incredible that of all the patients who were rescued, only three required hospitalisation.

“Within a couple of hours, the health teams coordinated alternative emergency aged care accommodation on the Gold Coast for all patients.

“By 10pm, next of kin for all but two patients had been contacted to assure them their loved ones were being well cared for and by the early hours of the morning, all patients had been transported to alternative aged care facilities on the Gold Coast.”

While the Commonwealth finds a long-term solution, staff are in touch with families to advise them where their loved ones will be residing in the short term.

Any concerned next of kin can contact 1300 004 242 or 13 Health.

UPDATE at 6:50 AM FRIDAY | ALL 71 elderly residents from the Earle Haven Retirement Village on the Gold Coast have been relocated after the private facility shut down without warning on Thursday afternoon.

It’s understood the majority of residents were taken in by other aged care homes across the Coast overnight.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles has called for a full investigation.

“This was a terrible situation that unfolded here on the Gold Coast yesterday afternoon – a health emergency,” Mr Miles told Sunrise on Friday morning.

“These 71 residents many of them old and frail, many of them suffering from dementia, being told in the middle of the night that they have to move to a new place away from where they’ve lived for some time was very, very distressing.”

Staff walked out of the Nerang nursing home on Thursday afternoon following a drawn-out pay dispute.

“The first we (the government) knew about it was a call to triple-o at around two o’clock yesterday afternoon to say that the staff had all been sent home and that people were removing from the facility anything of value,” Mr Miles said.

Mr Miles said the facility was stripped of all valuables, including food, computers, medical equipment, medication, cleaning products and supplies.

“All of the equipment needed to take care of the residents,” Mr Miles said.

“A small number of staff did remain on site out of concern for the residents who they’ve taken care of, in many cases, for many years but from here we do need to investigate how this was allowed to happen.

“There is a federal government agency whose job it is to ensure quality and sustainability of privately run aged care facilities like this one but the situation really isn’t good enough and can’t be allowed to happen again.”

FIRST at 5:40 PM THURSDAY (By Matt McDonald) | Dozens of residents of a Gold Coast nursing home have been left homeless without warning after contractors were forced to walk out over an ongoing payment dispute.

Health officials are urgently trying to accommodate around 70 residents of the Earle Haven Retirement Village at Nerang, with many of those suffering dementia.

Aged care contractor Help Street has been locked in a dispute over money with the owners of Earle Haven for several weeks.

Help Street CEO Kristofer Bunker says they had no other choice but to walk away, forcing the facility to be shut.

“We have tried desperately over the last two days to confirm from them that we would receive payment,” Mr Bunker told Seven News.

“We receive money every month, this month we haven’t received anything and last month it was late and other months throughout this year it was late or had deductions that we couldn’t account for.

“As such we couldn’t guarantee the staff any wages beyond today and i wasn’t prepared to keep them employed without that knowledge.

“We took the decision to let the staff know and be truthful and honest to them.

“At the same time we were concerned for the residents in the nursing home so we contacted Queensland Health and they sent a team down to make sure the resident’s care is at the forefront.”

In a statement Gold Coast Health says it was made aware of the situation this afternoon.

“This is distressing for residents and families of this private aged care facility. Our immediate concern is for the health and wellbeing of these residents.

“Aged care is funded and regulated by the Commonwealth Government. We understand that the Commonwealth Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has been informed of this situation. The Commonwealth needs to urgently find places for these residents.

Queensland Health has stepped in to provide short-term assistance. We have coordinated an initial response to support to these residents with Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service and Queensland Ambulance Service.

“Queensland Ambulance Service is on site. The Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service have sent ten staff, including eight senior clinicians to the facility this afternoon to provide assistance.

“We will liaise with the Commonwealth Government to help ensure these residents are looked after and there is as minimal impact as possible on hospital capacity.”

Gold Coast Health is expected to try and accommodate residents in hospitals while also contacting other nursing homes on the Coast.