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A life together ends

Saturday, 20th September, 2014

A couple married for almost 67 years will be separated on Monday because they will have nowhere to live together if the Shorty O’Neil Village closes.

Rex and Yvonne Pritchard have lived at Shorty O’Neil for 12 months.

Rex recently celebrated his 90th birthday. He has dementia and has high care needs. Yvonne looks after him and has low care needs.

Yvonne said they had looked forward to getting into the village.

“We had a smaller home with care provided,” she said. “If they close it down, I am without a home.”

During an audit in June this year the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) found a “serious risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of residents”.

An agency assessment team found the nursing home failed to meet 15 of the 44 accreditation standards.

The Department of Health said residents were not receiving appropriate clinical care, clinical decisions were being made by unqualified staff, and care was not being properly planned, assessed or monitored.

In a recent newsletter to residents, SOV said it had now met 10 of the accreditation standards with a further seven remaining. It said four of the outstanding outcomes related to continuous improvement and the final three were to be reviewed this month.

A reaccreditation audit is scheduled for September 24-25. 

City Council’s general manager Therese Manns told the BDT this week that she was confident Shorty would pass the audit.

But residents have been told the village could close in January.

Rex and Yvonne’s daughter, Dianne Ferris, said they had to scramble to get her dad into another care facility.

“We weren’t able to get them a place together because they have different care needs,” Dianne said.

“We thought we still had two years and we weren’t going to worry until it got closer.

“But we were told the village could close as soon as January.”

She said her father was accepted into St Anne’s Nursing Home and would move in on Monday.

“The stress of not having certainty has forced the family to make decisions that may have seen many more years together for my parents,” Dianne said.

Dianne said her parents were very worried about the situation.

“It is heart-wrenching. Mum does everything for dad,” she said.

“He just knows he needs to be with mum. He doesn’t cope well if he doesn’t see her. I’m not sure how he is going to go.”

Yvonne said she was at a loss.

“I’m a bit upset. Everyone is in the same boat, it’s not only us,” she said.

“We’ve got everything here. I don’t know what I am going to do.”

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