Rose Lodge CEO Beverley Walsh and president Bill Berry are “ecstatic” their blueprint for the aged care facility’s extension is finally going to become a reality. G082414

By Gav Ross

CONSTRUCTION on Rose Lodge’s long-awaited $6 million redevelopment will begin this month, with work expected to be finished by the end of 2015.
In what will be the most significant upgrade the Wonthaggi aged care facility has received in its 47-year history, 32 new rooms will be built, bringing the total number of lodgings for residents up to 99.
Rose Lodge CEO, Beverley Walsh, said she was “absolutely ecstatic” last week after highly-reputable local building company TS Constructions signed the final paperwork.
“It’s just exhilarating,” she beamed.
“I came into this role three years ago and getting this building project completed was to be my first job – and now it’s finally happening!”
The massive extension will be added to the facility’s already existing upper floor.
A completely new, ultra-modern entrance, accessed from Baillieu Drive, is a major part of the development.
“There will be far more parking space for our staff and visitors, along with disabled parking spots,” Ms Walsh said.
“The new entrance will house our main reception area, but our original reception entrance (facing Graham Street) will also remain open.”

Aside from more room and a new entrance, the most important aspect of the extension is that it will now allow Rose Lodge to accept residents who require high-level care – something the facility could only do selectively until now due to staffing and equipment limitations.

Residents transitioning from low-level to high-level care will now be able to stay at Rose Lodge until the very end, whereas, in earlier instances, they may have been required to leave for a nursing home specialising in high care.
“We will also now be accepting high care residents directly into the facility as well, which is something we haven’t been able to do until now,” Ms Walsh added.
“Residents of other low-care facilities could now be moved to Rose Lodge.”
Ms Walsh stresses, however, that the redevelopment project isn’t about transferring residents from other facilities.
“We are building due to community demand and expectations,” she said.
“This will allow people to remain in Wonthaggi.”
Rose Lodge president Bill Berry said being able to provide high-level care will put the minds of many current residents, and their families, at ease.
“It’s always been a concern here that we may have a resident who has stayed here for 10 years, then they become too frail and we’re no longer able to look after them,” Mr Berry said.
“Now, we can.”

More beds and more jobs

The 32 new rooms will be fitted with brand new adjustable electronic beds, which are also being added to existing rooms across the facility.
Along with the extension, there will be additional upgrades at the core of the facility – the kitchen will be doubled in size, a second lift will be installed and a barrier laundry will be built.
Ms Walsh said disruption to residents and visitors will be minimal during construction.
Fundraising activities and events are planned between now and the opening of the extension, and Ms Walsh made a point of thanking one of the project’s greatest supporters.
“The Rose Lodge Op Shop in Wonthaggi has provided over $1 million in total to this facility since it opened,” she said.
“We really can’t thank the volunteers there enough.”
Ms Walsh confirmed there will be additional employment opportunities for registered nurses made available once the extension is completed.
While unable to confirm exact numbers at this stage, she believed 30 new staff members, covering full-time, part-time and casual, would be added to the existing roster of 70 employees.