Wellington aged care facility makes bid for more beds

CLOSING DOWN : Maranatha House will be the only aged care facility in Wellington after Bellhaven closes "on or around" October 7. Maranatha House will take some of the Bellhaven residents. Photo: ANTONIA O'FLAHERTY
CLOSING DOWN : Maranatha House will be the only aged care facility in Wellington after Bellhaven closes "on or around" October 7. Maranatha House will take some of the Bellhaven residents. Photo: ANTONIA O'FLAHERTY

A rush of new aged care beds in Dubbo and Orange has checked the ambition of Maranatha House in Wellington.

President of its board of directors, farmer and former councillor John Trounce, has been candid about its future in the wake of the announcement by Orana Gardens Ltd that it will close 46-bed Bellhaven in Wellington come early October.

Orana Gardens Ltd chief executive officer Kristine Saywaker has told of “declining numbers of residents and the ever-increasing costs that are now rendering smaller facilities, like Bellhaven, unviable”.

Maranatha House hopes to take 12 to 15 of the Bellhaven residents with the rest going into Dubbo aged care facilities.

Its new and almost-complete $6 million wing, built with a grant of about $3 million from the federal government, will boost the number of licensed beds at Maranatha House from 62 to 82.

But the soon-to-be only aged care facility in Wellington has put in an application for 10 more beds.

“It’s probably about what we can manage,” Mr Trounce said. “We are getting a lot of competition from the bigger centres.

“I was told there are hundreds of  beds opening up in Dubbo and Orange is doing the same thing. So our catchment is reducing and we have to be realistic but not parochial. For example we have got a couple of residents who are from Sydney and have been with us for donkey years.”

While Maranatha House has put a limit on its bed capacity, plans are afoot to further improve the quality of life of residents. 

FUTURE PLANS: President of the board of directors of Wellington's Maranatha House John Trounce has told of its plan to build an inter-generational education centre. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

FUTURE PLANS: President of the board of directors of Wellington's Maranatha House John Trounce has told of its plan to build an inter-generational education centre. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

The facility owns two blocks of land, one of them earmarked for an inter-generational education centre that would bring “young and old people together”.

Residents already enjoy the presence of children at Maranatha House with a playground established for the offspring of staff.

Mr Trounce said funding was yet to be found for the new centre.

He said if Maranatha House secured the extra 10 licensed beds it would need to expand onto the other block, with the concept of clusters of bedsitters with a shared kitchen or living room being discussed.

The president said Maranatha House was “about quality rather than quantity”.

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