Anglican Care, the social action agency of the New Zealand Diocese of Christchurch, is to close its two residential elderly care centres. The agency cited “exponential growth in the aged care sector” as one of the reasons behind its decision to gradually wind down operations at Bishopspark and Fitzgerald residential centres. Currently, both sites offer independent living and rest home care. Fitzgerald also offers hospital and dementia care.
“We know this will be a challenging time for our residents and staff,” Moka Ritchie, chair of the Anglican Care Trust Board, said, adding that the agency “will continue to provide the same quality of care to all residents at Bishopspark and Fitzgerald through this extended transition period.”
As part of the wind-down, no new residents will move in to the centres, which will continue to operate with their existing residents until the closures are complete. The Diocese of Christchurch said that the complexes will continue to operate around the needs of the residents, and that there was no timeframe on how long that would continue.
A third Anglican Care complex, Churchill Courts, was demolished after the Canterbury earthquakes in 2011.
“We started residential care an incredible 66 years ago when we saw a need that no-one else was meeting for the most vulnerable in our community,” Ritchie said. “Since then, the aged care sector has matured and grown exponentially, with commercial operators now delivering more highly-specified units and a wider range of services than we can provide.
“Their scale means they can also offer their services much more cost effectively.”
She added: “We’ve been losing money and subsidising our residential care from Anglican Care general funds for many years and that can’t continue indefinitely. The earthquakes also dealt us further blows, with significant damage making some of our buildings uneconomic to repair.
“This combination of factors led to the decision we are better to leave residential care of the elderly to businesses specialising in this, while we focus our efforts on other areas where we can serve the elderly in our communities.”
Ritchie said that efforts to interest a buyer in taking over its operations at the two centres as a going concern proved fruitless because too much work was needed to bring the buildings up to market standards. “We are still keen to find a buyer for either or both sites as going concerns,” she said.
Anglican Care confirmed that 41 residents at Bishopspark and 32 at Fitzgerald had “Occupational Rights Agreements (ORA). These give them the right to remain in their unit unless they chose to terminate the agreement and move elsewhere.
The agency said that residents with ORAs will not be asked to leave, or have to leave their village unless they want to; but said that that the complexes “will slowly wind down over a period of years as residents with ORAs relinquish these agreements.”
It stressed that the agency would “work closely with the residents to ensure the sites and the services they offer are maintained throughout.”