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23 February, 2022

MPS funding

Gilgandra’s Multi-Purpose Service (MPS) will receive $196,000 in funding from the federal government to improve the aged care services at Windmill Cottage.

By Supplied

The grant is part of a $35.3 million MPS program allocated across 110 aged care sites in regional or remote areas, announced last week by Richard Colbeck, the minister for senior Australians and aged care services.

The funding comes after the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released its final report in March 2021 and recommended that the MPS program should be maintained and extended.

John Alchin, nurse manager of Gilgandra MPS, says the funding will allow them to make the aged care facility more homely for the senior citizens living there as, currently, “it’s a very clinical type area, built more like a hospital instead of a home environment”.

Mr Alchin said the funding should also help them to better manage high level dementia care with alterations to allow for more suitable visibility, as many patients require lots of supervision.

“The community should be very excited,” said Mr Alchin.

He explained that because it’s a minor capital grant, the changes won’t be major structural ones, but rather more internal structural changes, such as alterations to doors and windows. He said these changes are especially important from the perspective of dementia patients allowing them to feel comfortable in their long term care environment.

“Having a familiar environment helps them to settle better and require less medication. The more you can make an environment suited for dementia patients, it creates a really calming and nice environment for their care,” said Mr Alchin.

Local Shiree Ryan’s grandmother, Poppy Norris, has progressed dementia and was in the care of her daughter until she broke her hip 12-months-ago at which time she moved into Windmill Cottage.

“It would be wonderful to see the cottage receive some updates to make it feel more homely,” Mrs Ryan said.

“Nan is receiving great care, but she would love to be at home, just like all of us would love to be at home.”

Mr Alchin said it will create a positive environment not just for current residents, but also future residents. Minister Colbeck said in the announcement of the grant allocation, “we know how important it is for older Australians receiving care to maintain social connections and these services will allow people to stay in these communities, close to their family and friends.”

Mrs Ryan said it was “very very important” for her nan, Mrs Norris, to receive the care she needed in Gilgandra. Mrs Norris has lived in the Gilgandra area for almost 60 years, running together with her husband, the Curban switchboard and post office, in addition to being involved in local tennis and Red Cross for many years.

“Nan has lived in the Gilgandra area most of her life and has been a big part of the community. Her family is here, her friends are here, it was important she be able to stay where she knows is home.”

Mrs Ryan says her own mother still plays a big role in Mrs Norris’ care “so it’s important for mum to be able to easily go and visit her”.

“If she wasn’t able to stay in Gilgandra where mum lives, the task of visiting her every day would become much harder than it already is.”

Gilgandra Newspapers inquired with the minister about the government’s response to the Aged Care Royal Commission’s other recommendations, particularly relating to access to services in regional, rural and remote areas which the report said was of particular concern.

A spokesman for the minister for Mr Colbeck replied: “in response to the Aged Care Royal Commission, we are investing $630.2 million over five years from 2020-21 to make the aged care system more accessible for senior Australians in regional, rural and remote Australia, and those with special needs, such as First Nations people, and those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”

“The 2021-22 budget also contains other measures that will assist aged care providers to sustainably deliver high quality care in thin markets.”

The spokesperson said “as part of this we will introduce a new funding model for residential aged care, the Australian National Aged Care Classification (ANACC), from October 1, 2022. The ANACC delivers increased funding to rural and remote residential aged care services, as well as specialised homeless and remote Indigenous services, to reflect the increased costs of delivering care in these services.”

Across the Parkes electorate MPS facilities will receive collectively over $2 million as part of the allocations. The funding represented an essential opportunity for 10 MPS facilities in the electorate to improve quality care levels. Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton said the funding is an opportunity for providers to maintain and reinforce the health, safety, and wellbeing of residents – and it offers peace-of-mind for families eager to ensure their loved one receives quality care.

“The work would include simple improvements such as gardens and pathways, to major building renovations.”

The MPS grants build on the investment in residential aged care infrastructure in July 2021 - $150 million in capital grants allocated to residential care services, predominantly in regional and remote Australia.

Other grants were awarded to:

Baradine MPS - $86,400,

Brewarrina MPS - $116,000,

Coonamble MPS - $72,000,

Gulargambone MPS - $52,000,

Nyngan MPS - $600,000,

Trangie MPS - $216,000,

Warren MPS - $600,000, and

Gilgandra MPS - $196,000.

By Natasha May

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