Update: Friday, 12pm.
Lyndoch Living board president Susan Cassidy and chief executive Doreen Power have issued a statement on Friday, in response to The Standard's article about a community rally where south-west residents will voice their concerns on Sunday.
Warrnambool community members Carol Altmann and Diane Riordon have organised the rally in response to ongoing concerns from community members around Lyndoch Living including residential care, staff shortages, staff resignations, financial concerns including the viability of the new medical clinic, and the exclusion of the community from becoming members of the organisation.
In the statement, Ms Cassidy and Ms Power acknowledged the aged and health care sectors were currently experiencing a very tough environment.
"The recruitment challenges and workforce shortages Lyndoch Living faces are prevalent across Australia's entire aged care industry," they said
"We want to assure the community that we are incredibly proud and grateful for each team member's dedication and passion and the care they give to our residents in keeping them safe and well.
"We respect the rights of individuals and groups to have and express opinions, irrespective of whether they are supportive or different to those held by Lyndoch Living."
An event on Sunday will give south-west residents a chance to voice their concerns about Lyndoch Living at a community rally.
Organisers Carol Altmann and Diane Riordon said the rally was in response to ongoing concerns from community members around Lyndoch Living including residential care, staff shortages, staff resignations, financial concerns including the viability of the new medical clinic, and the exclusion of the community from becoming members of the organisation.
Ms Altmann, who is a journalist and community advocate, said her mum was a resident at the aged care facility for ten years up until 2019. During this time Ms Altmann said she built trust with employees and towards the end of her mum's stay she observed "changes in culture first-hand".
She said staff, families and residents were too scared to speak up, opting to leave the organisation instead.
"The reason this community action is so important is because so many of the staff are afraid to speak up for fear of reprimand and the same for the families," she said.
On Sunday, Ms Altmann said she would read out a list of employees names who had left Lyndoch to work for other aged care providers. She said it was important to note the staff departures and staff shortages began pre-COVID, and before the staff shortages many businesses were currently experiencing.
She said the disgruntled staff weren't leaving the industry completely, instead gaining employment at other regional aged care providers.
She said South West Coast MP Roma Britnell would speak at the rally, while statements from federal member for Wannon Dan Tehan and Member for Western Victoria Bev McArthur would be read out as they were unable to attend.
Mrs Riordon said she was organising the event as a concerned community member.
"It's just breaking my heart, actually," Mrs Riordon said. "People are talking about it but no-one seems willing to stand up and I thought 'somebody's got to stand up'. I'm of the belief that these people are at the end of their life and they deserve and pay for good care and that's not what's happening.
"I really feel for the staff because since seeing my parents in care (in Camperdown), people in aged care work there because they do care, they're a special sort of person. They must be feeling really let down at the moment because the staffing levels are down."
Lyndoch chief executive officer Doreen Power was contacted for comment but did not respond. The rally is at Scoborio Reserve, Hopkins Road, Sunday at 11am.
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