Supporting the mental and physical health and wellbeing of our elderly residents is vital. In recent months there has been a lot of discussion around the lack of aged care beds in the Cairns region in particular. It is a complex issue and one that is often misrepresented by media headlines unfortunately.
Nevertheless, reducing the waiting times for older people who can no longer live independently – or may be living inappropriately in long-term hospital beds – is a priority.
I have also asked the Department of Social Services to carry out an audit so we can get a better understanding of the bed places that have been allocated to other facilities but haven’t yet been activated. We also need a detailed outline of how many new beds will be brought online in the coming months to deal with the immediate challenge, and will keep you updated on this.
Speaking of beds coming online, I was very pleased to attend the opening of the new Bupa Cairns facility in September, which will provide accommodation for 144 aged care patients and can be accessed by those older people who are well enough to leave Cairns Hospital. 30 of these beds will be specifically for people with dementia.
In Mossman, I am continuing to work with Salvation Army Aged Care Plus and the Mossman District Nursing Home committee. In last year’s ACAR round the project received an allocation of 42 beds and I have supported their bid for capital funding to help build the facility in this year’s round.