Aged care gets a Helping Hand

DEAL: Helping Hand chief executive officer Chris Stewart, left, shakes hands with Kindred Living chairperson Tim Weiss.
DEAL: Helping Hand chief executive officer Chris Stewart, left, shakes hands with Kindred Living chairperson Tim Weiss.

Kindred Living will be transferring their services to leading aged care provider Helping Hand, following the closure of Annie Lockwood Court earlier this year.

Subject to achieving set goals in key areas, Helping Hand is expected to take full ownership of Kindred Living within the next 12 months, including the local aged care facilities and home and community services.

In the interim Helping Hand will act as the manager, reporting to the Kindred Living board. They pledge to work closely with the local management team, staff, residents and clients to ensure a successful handover.

Helping Hand chief executive officer Chris Stewart made the announcement in Whyalla on Wednesday, alongside Kindred Living board chair Tim Weiss.

At this stage there are no plans for Helping Hand to re-open Annie Lockwood Court, however they hope to secure government funding for a multi-million dollar upgrade of Yeltana Nursing Home in the medium term.

"Yeltana needs significant investment to bring it up to a more contemporary standard, it's got shared bathrooms which would like to, in time, turn into rooms with ensuites," Mr Stewart said.

"There is an opportunity there to expand the services ... we would be looking for external support for that."

The licences for the 50 beds lost through the closure of Annie Lockwood will remain in Whyalla, with Mr Stewart saying they could be re-purposed in the future "to serve the people of Whyalla".

"Unfortunately some residents have had to leave the town, we don't want that to happen, but the reality is if we don't have enough nurses to provide those services we can't operate those functions," he said.

Kindred Living chair Tim Weiss said the future looked bright for Whyalla's aged care sector under Helping Hand, with hopes that the changeover will help stabilise the local workforce.

"I'm hoping they will attract investments so we can put into place the improvements that we have been wanting to do for a very long time," he said.

Asked what would become of Kindred Living after Helping hand takes full ownership of the provider, Mr Weiss said it would be up to Helping Hand whether the name of Kindred Living would be maintained.

"Kindred Living and Whyalla Aged Care are names that are synonymus with our facilities and the care we provide in Whyalla so maybe they maintain those names, but that will be a matter for them," he said.

A non-for-profit organisation, Helping Hand provides home care services across the Lower North, Barossa Valley, Mid North, Yorke Peninsula and Eyre Peninsula.