Hikurangi Residential Home announces closure
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Following consultation with their staff and residents, the Hikurangi rest home board has announced the facility will close in four weeks time. 
 
Hikurangi board chair Pam Erni met with the Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) yesterday to confirm the closure which will occur on Monday 25 June.
 
Two weeks ago Mrs Erni said the home’s board of trustees had been assessing Hikurangi’s financial status resulting from concerns raised by the draft financial budget for 2012/13. She outlined a number of factors that had contributed to the situation. Fluctuating occupancy rates over the past five years is one. Rising costs, future earthquake strengthening liabilities and the amount of ongoing expenditure necessary to keep an aging building in tip-top condition are other factors.
 
She said the previous year’s losses had been met from cash reserves but this was no longer sustainable. The board had worked through the financial issues and consulted with staff and residents’ families in an endeavour to resolve the situation but a turnaround in Hikurangi’s fortunes was not possible.
 
“Sadly, consultation did not provide a sustainable way to address the financial difficulties that Hikurangi is facing,” Mrs Erni said.
 
WDHB service and business planning general manager Tracey Schiebli says now that the closure was confirmed the WDHB and Hikurangi were working closely to manage the relocation of residents to alternative care.
 
“We understand that residents and their families will be feeling anxious so we want them to know that while rest home bed capacity will be tight, Hikurangi residents will have first priority and there are adequate hospital and dementia beds for those requiring them.
 
“Of the 30 long-term Hikurangi residents who require beds, 16 have placements already and we are confident that the remaining 14 residents can be relocated to alternative homes within the next four weeks.
 
Ms Schiebli says following a meeting some weeks ago at which Mrs Erni had outlined the board’s financial difficulties, the WDHB and Hikurangi had considered other bed mix options such as moving to hospital level care.
 
“However, Hikurangi was mindful that other providers in the DHB area are moving, or have moved, to providing that level of care.”
 
“Over the next 18 months the DHB expects an additional 54 residential care beds will come on stream within the Whanganui district as the market responds to future growth predictions. We support age care providers across the district who are continually reviewing their business plans to ensure they can respond to the future needs of our elderly.
 
“In addition to this, the DHB is progressing with the development of new enhanced packages of care which have proved very effective in Canterbury following the earthquakes.
 
 “These packages are being developed by a working group that includes Access Ability, Hospice Wanganui and primary and secondary care clinicians. They will strengthen the range of options for people who wish to, or could, remain living in their own homes.
 
“Over the next few weeks, the WDHB and Hikurangi agree that the quality of care remains the top priority until the last resident leaves. A recent move made has been confirming the availability of a dedicated respite bed at the New Vista residential home. Families can book this by calling New Vista.”