By Jeremy Sollars
Goondiwindi Mayor Lawrence Springborg says Churches of Christ in Queensland have notified residents, families and staff they will permanently close their Inglewood Aged Care Service – the Casa Mia aged care home – and that families “have been given just three weeks, until 28 October, to permanently relocate their loved ones”.
In a statement released late yesterday – Wednesday 7 October – Cr Springborg said the closure will be “a huge loss to the community” and that he is “appalled by the treatment of the residents, their families and staff”.
The closure follows several months of uncertainty over the future of the home overlooking the Inglewood Golf Club, which currently has six residents but has a capacity for 11.
A Churches of Christ Care Queensland spokesman told the Free Times in July of this year that it had not at that stage advised the families of current residents of any impending need to re-locate their loved ones to another facility, but likewise would not give a categorical assurance there were no plans to close the home.
The Free Times is seeking comment from Churches of Christ Queensland in relation to the closure announcement this week.
“For months, locals and Council have been calling for Churches of Christ to be upfront and honest about their intentions,” Cr Springborg said.
“Churches of Christ repeatedly told us that the facility will stay open.
“To have this announcement coupled with only three weeks’ notice, it reflects an organisation with an absence of respect for its clients and staff.
“From the outset I’ve been understanding of the need for businesses to be viable to operate.
“However the lack of compassion and transparency from Churches of Christ throughout this process is absolutely deplorable.
“If Churches of Christ had been honest when we made contact over three months ago, Council and locals could have worked towards finding alternate solutions that allowed the Inglewood facility to continue to operate in some capacity.
“I genuinely feel for the local staff, residents and their families who have endured months of anxiety from Churches of Christ’s misrepresentations.
“They deserve better than the way they have been treated.”
In July a Churches of Christ Care spokesman told the Free Times the Inglewood facility was “continuing to welcome new residents”, and was “assessing” two such applications to determine the “eligibility” of those prospective residents.
But at that time the spokesman would not commit to senior Queensland management of Churches of Christ Care meeting with all of the families of existing residents as a group in Inglewood – and with Cr Springborg as he had requested – saying the organisation was in “almost daily” contact with those families on an individual basis.
The spokesman would not provide specific details on current or expected staffing numbers at the Casa Mia facility.
“Our leadership team is engaging with the families, the residents and the staff on a regular basis,” the spokesman said in July.
“We are continuing to welcome and accept new residents at the facility.
“There is always a tension between the staffing roster at any aged care facility and the number of residents but the staffing level at Inglewood reflects the number of residents currently there.”
Other than Churches of Christ Care the only aged care option at Inglewood is at the hospital which provides limited spaces.