Aged care residents left stranded following the closure of the Kalimna Hostel in Strathalbyn may have been thrown a lifeline, after the State Liberals made a major health announcement last month.
On December 20, the party made a $8.7 million commitment to aged care accommodation and services in Strathalbyn and the surrounding area.
“We have announced a $1.1 million investment in the Kalimna Hostel that would see the community decide its future – either open it again for accommodation for the aged or transform it into an aged allied health centre,” Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said.
“If elected, a Marshall Liberal Government will also build a new 24-bed nursing home at Strathalbyn at an estimated cost of $7.5 million to boost the aged care services in the region.”
Country Health SA closed the aged care facility in January last year after the department decided it did not meet fire safety standards.
It was also deemed the structure too old to be retained without significant structural changes.
In February of 2017, residents were moved to alternate accommodation.
Since the closure, many have called on the state government to replace the facility, including Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.
Ms Sharkie sent a letter to Health Minister Peter Malinauskas after meeting with the Kalimna Working Party just days before the State Liberals announced its funding commitment.
Her letter included a copy of a report prepared by the Working Party following months of community consultation.
“With our residents and our hospital stretched to capacity trying to care for our senior citizens since the closure of Kalimna, we cannot afford to lose the 24 licences currently sitting in limbo with no physical beds for people to occupy,” Ms Sharkie said.
“The findings of the Working Party are well researched and offer a measured and practical response to the growing ageing population in Strathalbyn.”
we cannot afford to lose the 24 licences currently sitting in limbo...Rebekha Sharkie
Ms Sharkie said available land on the Alfred Place side of the Strathalbyn and District Aged Care Facility could be suitable for a new building.