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Feros Village Byron Bay FAQs

Why is Feros Care Byron Bay closing?

We are closing Feros Village Byron Bay because the building was designed and built as a low care hostel 33 years ago. It can no longer meet modern obligations and requirements of a residential aged care facility. Unfortunately, it simply cannot continue in its current form.

There has been a claim made about elder abuse at Feros Care Village, Byron Bay, what is your response?

Any accusation of elder abuse should be reported immediately to the authorities. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has been onsite numerous times and reported that residents are happy with their care and conduct of staff. Feros Care has zero tolerance to elder abuse. We would take any such claim extremely seriously. Our primary concern has and always will be, for the well-being of our residents.

Does Feros Care consider 120 days as a reasonable amount of notice given to vulnerable elderly residents to find alternative care in this current housing crisis environment?

It is untrue that there is no suitable accommodation for the remaining residents to move to.

To date, we have supported, and transitioned 26 of the 36 residents of Feros Byron to new homes of their choosing across the region.

Right now, all the remaining 10 residents have 2 suitable accommodation options available to choose from and move into immediately.

Currently, the 10 remaining residents at Feros Byron have chosen not to engage with us regarding the closure. On 10 May 2023, Feros Care received advice from the solicitor representing these remaining residents, instructing us to cease direct communication to residents regarding the closure.

Feros Care can accommodate all 10 remaining residents in our homes at Bangalow and Wommin Bay or in the region with other providers if they prefer, with more than 10 places immediately available and held for them if they choose to engage.

Feros Care has always and remains open to meeting with residents and their families to discuss their plans for relocation because the Village is closing.

How is Feros Care assisting the residents to find alternative accommodation?

We are doing a lot here.

  • 26 residents have been supported and already relocated to their new homes in the region.
  • Feros Care has a dedicated transition manager onsite, from Sunday to Thursday each week (to allow residents and families to meet with her on the weekend if required). An experienced Registered Nurse is otherwise available to discuss transition plans on Fridays and Saturdays;
  • Feros Care continues to offer and provide transport, buses, and tours to potential new homes at no cost to residents.
  • Feros Care has organised for the Aged Care Assessment Team (a government team, independent of Feros) to be onsite at Byron Bay to assess residents’ long-term care needs and help them plan their transition;
  • Feros Care has provided an external aged care placement provider, Health & Aged Assist at no cost for all residents if they prefer an independent person to help them find alternative accommodation.
  • Feros Care has offered all family members and residents counselling at no cost to them through the independent Access EAP service – and arranged for counsellors to be onsite every week since the announcement of the closure.
  • Feros Care continues to provide the 10 remaining residents with wellbeing support services including an onsite GP, an onsite counsellor, phone-based counsellor services and access to independent placement and advocacy services. Our priority is supporting the wellbeing of remaining residents as they transition to their new home.

Is there a possibility that Feros Care could extend the Management of the facility for the term of the licence (May 2024) so an alternative provider could be tendered to manage the facility within this timeframe?

Unfortunately, no, as it would be irresponsible to place residents at continued risk.

It was reported that Feros Care was unable to meet the complex regulations required – could you advise what these complexities are?

All Government funded Residential Aged Care facilities, including Feros Byron Village, must comply with four significant legislative requirements (amongst others), with the Act (and subordinate legislation) being the main law that covers government-funded aged care in Australia.

The Act sets out rules for things like funding, regulation, approval of providers, quality of care and the rights of people receiving care.

  • The Aged Care Act (the Act)
  • The User Rights Principles
  • The Quality-of-Care Principles, and
  • The Aged Care Quality Standards.

Our obligations under the Aged Care Act (1997) (AC Act), the Quality Standards
and the changes to the policy settings around ‘Ageing in Place’. Feros Byron Village is no longer compliant with the requirements in the Aged Care Act.

The decision to close was not motivated by financial imperatives.

The Feros Byron village was specifically designed 33 years ago to meet the requirement of a low care hostel – but the distinction between high and low care no longer exists.

The requirement for ‘Ageing in Place’ is also outlined in the Byron Shire Council’s Residential Strategy, December 2020.

And the Feros Byron village is ‘grandfathered’ as a Class 3 building under the Building Code of Australia, all residential aged care homes are now required to be Class 9c. Any changes to the current building will trigger the requirement to rightfully meet Class 9c building requirements with due consideration to the relevant fire protection zone on site.

The required mandated provisions derived from the Aged Care Act, namely that the distinction between high and low care has been removed – which means providers of residential aged care must be able to demonstrate they can support all residents to age in place across the full spectrum of care needs at any time.

For instance, significant redevelopment of the Feros Byron village buildings to bring the current facility up to standard, including:

  • Additional design elements to allow for limited accessibility for individuals and peoples with disability, mobility challenges, and included increased security features, to accommodate quality clinical care and safety of residents with dementia.
  • Inadequate provisions for high care requirements in rooms, and outdated healthcare management technology
  • Clinical and medication rooms, and appropriate storage for hoists and other equipment
  • Fire prevention, and protection design elements and sprinklers to address the fire protection zone provisions.
  • Introduction of automatic doors throughout the facility for non-ambulatory residents
  • A commercial laundry and dirty utility/pan room that meets infection control and outbreak prevention standards.
  • New commercial kitchen facilities
  • GP consulting rooms, allied health treatment spaces, accommodation for hairdressers, etc
  • Rewiring and new switchboard for generator power, new cabling for effective use of technology and a new nurse call and alarm system
  • A dedicated clinical team to ensure that Feros Care is able to meet the ‘care minute’ requirements for its residents, including a registered nurse being present onsite 24 x 7 (noting current workforce shortages are predicted to become more acute in the near future, and challenges for our staff to find affordable housing locally).
  • Renovations to increase the capacity at the Village to enable the clinical care roster to meet the above care minutes and registered nurse requirements to be viable.
  • Availability of local General Practitioners willing to serve residents 24 x 7 onsite.

Does Feros Care have future plans for this facility?

We do. Feros Care understands our duties and obligations as Crown Land Managers and the reserve purpose on the land. It is Feros Care’s intention that this site will continue to be used for the benefit of seniors in the Byron Bay Community. Accordingly, the new facility proposed by Feros Care will be consistent with the Public Purpose for which it has care, control, and management of the Crown Reserve, namely ‘Homes for the Aged’.

Feros Care remains committed to engaging and consulting with the Crown Land, Byron Shire Council, community and other stakeholders on the co-design and delivery of a new, fit-for-purpose, seniors’ accommodation on the site.

Is Feros Care developing the site to make money?

Feros Care is a not-for-profit charity. The decision to close was not made so that we could develop or sell the site for commercial gain or property development. The land actually belongs to the Crown and Feros Care has neither the right, nor the intent to do anything other than operate a great community facility for seniors there.

What has happened to Feros Care team members?

We are doing everything we can to retain capable talent within the aged care industry, where workforce shortages are widely known. All team members have been offered ongoing employment with Feros Care, and no person is losing their job as a consequence of this closure.

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