Gold Coast aged care closure in spotlight

A Qld parliamentary committee will probe the sudden closure of the Earle Haven Retirement Village .
A Qld parliamentary committee will probe the sudden closure of the Earle Haven Retirement Village .

The sudden and shocking closure of a Gold Coast aged care home, and the safety and quality of patient care leading up to the scandal, will be scrutinised by a Queensland parliamentary committee.

The bipartisan Health Committee will hold hearings into the Earle Haven Retirement Village on Wednesday and Thursday at the Royal Pines Resort.

Seventy high-care residents were left in limbo on July 11 when the Nerang centre ceased trading over a pay dispute between its owner People Care and HelpStreet, which managed the residential care facilities.

Chaotic scenes of elderly people being loaded into ambulances as supplies were stripped out of the home made national headlines, with aged care advocates and political leaders slamming the situation as shocking.

"It is a national shame that this has happened," state Labor MP and Health Committee Chair Aaron Harper said when announcing the parliamentary hearings.

"Everyone deserves answers. Our priority is to ensure what has happened at Earle Haven doesn't happen to other homes and residents."

In August, the closure was probed by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which heard there was an "alarming" use of physical and chemical restraints at Earle Haven.

Half of the residents at Earle Haven were subjected to physical restraint on a regular basis and 71 per cent were receiving psychotropic medication.

Last week state Health Minister Steven Miles introduced a bill into parliament to mandate a minimum percentage of nurses to 50 per cent of all staff in public aged care homes, enforce a minimum number of care hours per resident per day and get private facilities to publicly report their care hours.

"We're in a position right now where in private facilities, one nurse is covering fifty patients, or one nurse is covering two facilities ten minutes apart," Mr Miles told parliament.

"This is about making sure our parents, grandparents and loved ones are treated with respect, dignity and appropriate levels of care."

Meanwhile the Earle Haven Retirement Village last month lodged plans with the Gold Coast City Council to expand its independent living facilities at the Nerang site, which were not affected by the July shutdown.

Australian Associated Press