Dated aged care facilities delaying aid at Castlemaine Health

AGED care is at the heart of the Castlemaine community’s concerns as its health service plans for the future.

Earlier this year, Castlemaine Health sought feedback on proposed improvements to the hospital and aged care service’s long-term position.

Chief executive officer Ian Fisher said there were several themes to the more than 900 responses. 

“The community really wants to see investment and modernisation in aged care,” he said.

“We heard time and time again that the shire wants more diverse and higher quality care for our older family members and loved ones. That people put off decisions to go into care because the dated environment is not acceptable to them. We want to change that.”

Dissatisfaction with transport and parking at the hilly site highlighted barriers to access for those with mobility issues.

“Castlemaine Health has struggled over the years with a lack of masterplan to steer improvements and expansion,” board chair Carolyn Wallace said.

“It’s a highly rated service but it’s being undermined by ageing facilities, which are expensive to maintain.

“We’re projected to spend around $40 million in the next 10 to 15 years on capital expenditure to ensure our current facilities remain safe and compliant to building regulations and standards.”

The community identified opportunities to provide additional services, such as chemotherapy, dialysis, and dentistry.

The hilly terrain at the Castlemaine Health has been identified as one of the site's challenges.

The hilly terrain at the Castlemaine Health has been identified as one of the site's challenges.

Suggestions included a hydrotherapy pool, and more support for young people with disabilities, mental health issues or high care needs.

“We heard very clearly that this community does not want to see money or resources wasted,” Ms Wallace said.

“They don’t want to see empty buildings around town or money spent on temporary ‘fixes’.  They want a considered, long-term strategy for the future.”

Mr Fisher said the health service would take the community’s feedback to the government to try and secure the political support necessary to act.

Castlemaine Health is due to publish a feedback report by the month’s end.