COVID-struck aged care home to shut
An aged care home which posted a dozen COVID-19 deaths and more than 130 infections is shutting its doors.
BlueCross Ruckers Hill in Northcote is set to close by April 23, with around 40 elderly residents told they need to find accommodation elsewhere.
They were told of the news in a meeting on Tuesday morning.
BlueCross, one of the largest private aged care providers in Victoria, confirmed the closure in a statement to the Herald Sun.
"The closure of the residence is part of BlueCross' strategic plan to consolidate its service offerings to enable the company to provide the best possible care for residents into the future,'' it said.
"This decision was not taken lightly by the BlueCross board and executive.
"In making the decision, several key factors were taken into consideration including the residence's current building design, potential for redevelopment, occupancy level, as well as demand for places, growth potential in the area and the recommendations from the Royal Commission."
BlueCross Ruckers Hill recorded a dozen COVID-19 deaths and was linked to 132 infections, including residents and staff, as the virus tore through aged care homes across Melbourne.
Residents have been told they should aim to move by April 23 but will be cared for and allowed to stay longer if needed.
"The timing of the closure aligns with low community transmission of COVID-19 in Victoria which means that residents can safely move home without being required to quarantine at their new home,'' BlueCross said.
"All staff, residents and families from the residence have been communicated with directly and BlueCross is assisting residents with planning for their transfer to other homes.
"Where possible, staff will be offered similar work at nearby BlueCross residences. We are aiming to close the residence by 23 April 2021, subject to finding suitable alternative accommodation for all residents."
Vanessa Buck, whose 80-year-old mum Jane is a resident at the home, said Tuesday's meeting was called at 5.30pm on Monday - giving families little time to be with loved ones when they received the news.
"They are devastated,'' she said.
"There was one lady who said: 'This is my home'. People have been there for 10 years."
Ms Buck, whose mum spent five weeks in hospital after contracting coronavirus at the aged care home, said while she was able to care for her mum at home in the interim some residents weren't so lucky.
Aged care spaces in the area were also limited.
"There is nowhere else close by,'' Ms Buck said.
"If we wanted them to go elsewhere we would have put them elsewhere.
"They have been through COVID, they were isolated and stuck in their rooms.
"Now they are being kicked out.
"It's atrocious. This is their home."
Originally published as COVID-struck aged care home to shut