Emergency resident evacuations and helicopter and boat trips to ferry staff, food and fuel to stranded facilities are among the feats achieved by retirement housing operators to respond to the east coast flooding crisis.
In addition, a number of operators have worked together to ensure residents are safe and well.
Below is our coverage of how different operators have responded to the situation:
Bolton Clarke Group CEO Stephen Muggleton has commended the bravery and dedication of staff who have rallied to ensure continued care for residents in communities isolated by floodwaters in South East Queensland.
Bolton Clarke, with the support of police, has been using boats to ferry in relief staff to support 113 residents at its Pinjarra Hills residential aged care community in Brisbane. Volunteers from the co-located retirement village were also said to provide “practical assistance”.
Meanwhile, when a retirement village on Moreton Bay’s Bribie Island was isolated by flood waters, the local team quickly converted the village’s community centre into temporary accommodation for residents whose units were damaged during the wild weather.
“I’ve witnessed some incredible examples of courage and commitment to our residents and clients over the past few days,” Mr Muggleton said.
On Monday, RSL LifeCare was forced to evacuate all residents and staff from its Fromelles Manor aged care facility at Lismore in northern NSW.
“Sadly, the first floor of Fromelles Manor in Lismore was affected by flooding, with residents alerted early and moved to the second floor safely,” a RSL LifeCare spokeswoman said. “Residents were evacuated safely later that day to nearby locations.”
“The health and safety of residents is of the utmost importance, and with flood waters continuing to rise, residents were taken to safety at other aged care homes in the area including those of other respected operators."
Media reports stated that a group of Fijian abattoir workers played a crucial role in the evacuation.
RSL LifeCare has set up a dedicated hotline (1300 175 795) for families and friends of those directly impacted by this event.
“We expect, with the flood damage to the home, that it will be months before a return by residents to Fromelles Manor is possible,” the spokeswoman said. “Right now, our focus is on continuing to provide care and support to those residents affected and we will continue to work with local authorities to update communication”.
Meanwhile BaptistCare said it housed six of the evacuated RSL LifeCare residents at its Maranoa aged care centre at Alstonville on the NSW Far North Coast.
“We are now caring for a total of 12 additional residents (at Alstonville),” a BaptistCare spokeswoman said.
“Several local volunteers continue to attend the home to work hand in hand with our staff, and we are incredibly grateful.
“Staffing continues to be a challenge and we foresee this will be the case into next week. While some of our staff can come and go, many are cut off or have emergencies in their own homes, and this will continue to be the case as waters recede."
Meanwhile, on Wednesday BaptistCare also organised a helicopter to make three trips from Taree to its Mid Richmond aged care centre at Coraki, in northern NSW. The helicopter delivered essential food and fuel supplies.
Coraki continues to be cut off by flood waters, with the only access via boat or helicopter.
Tomorrow, 11 BaptistCare workers will arrive onsite at Coraki via helicopter.
“This team of “Heroes” as we fondly call them are staff from other BaptistCare sites and head office, and will travel from Sydney, Newcastle, the Mid North Coast and Canberra. They will provide much-needed relief to staff onsite and assist with general duties,” a BaptistCare spokeswoman said.
“The home is still operating on power from a generator. The SES is supplying diesel, and tomorrow's BaptistCare helicopter flight will also add to the supply.
“Staffing continues to be a challenge and we foresee this will be the case into next week.
“As the waters recede, current staff will need to return to their own homes to assess the damage to their homes, and other staff may be cut off from attending the home.
"We expect this will place immense pressure on our roster.”
BaptistCare has also launched an appeal to support our response in the Northern Rivers. Visit the Appeal page for more information.