A couple of hundred people vowed to continue their "fight for Lyndoch" during a rally next to the Warrnambool aged-care facility on Sunday.
Former staff along with state and federal MPs either spoke or had statements read to the crowd calling on Lyndoch Living to reopen the lines of communication with the community.
Former Lyndoch nurse Sandy Hockley, who worked there for 39 years, addressed the meeting and said she had witnessed bullying and harassment, intimidation, low staff morale, staff and residents unable to voice concerns, work conditions eroded and poor resident care.
"Like all of us here today I am concerned about residential care and don't want to see Lyndoch Living fail," she said.
The aged care facility failed to meet a number of standards during two recent aged care quality and safety commission audits, and in April another random audit was carried out. The results have yet to be made public.
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said urged the board to open up lines of communication with and listen to the community.
"Lyndoch is a not-for-profit facility and the community does and should have a sense of ownership," she said.
"I'm told the staff feel stretched and it's critical. This has been going on a lot longer than COVID.
"There are too many family members who are worried, there are too many former staff and too many current staff who feel they can't speak up."
A statement from Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the independent regulator has been closely monitoring the quality of care.
The meeting was told that since July last year, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, had received 43 complaints related to staff, healthcare and consultation.
Dr Michael McCluskey, who stood as an independent at the last state election, told the crowd he had applied to become a member of the board without success and was taking his fight to VCAT.
He said he was not expecting "a fair and reasonable" outcome, so he also put in a complaint with the aged care commission and The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
Dr McCluskey, whose 93-year-old father uses some of the Lyndoch services, said he also had concerns about Lyndoch's purchase of the Warrnambool Medical Clinic business.
A statement from MP Bev McArthur said she had concerns about the financial viability, 10-year masterplan and new medical clinic.
Mrs McArthur labelled the exclusion of community members "shortsighted" and "counterproductive".
She called on the state government minister to meet the community to discuss these concerns, and urged the board to repair the damage to its relations with the community.
"The idea of formally constituting a community reference committee, made up of residents, families, and other people from the community with an interest in Lyndoch seems a good one to me," Mrs McArthur said.
"This campaign is so heartening because it shows that so many of you are willing not just to show your gratitude with words, as is so often the case, but to come together and take action."
Organiser Carol Altmann said it was a brilliant turnout to the rally and she got emotional as she thanked and listed by name dozens of "wonderful" staff who had left over the past few years.
"I am standing here today for you. I promised you I would have your back and I always will," she said.
She said the rally was a culmination of three years of "hard slog" to bring their "voices to the surface", and she had been a lot of pressure and legal action. "It's not been easy," she said. "We have never given up."
Ms Altmann said it was a "disgrace" that Lyndoch had been "ripped away" from the community that built it - "brick by brick and raffle ticket by raffle ticket".
She said they had tried to build the bridge with the board over the past year and more than 130 people applied to become a community member of Lyndoch but not one person was accepted.
Mayor Vicki Jellie, whose membership was also rejected, attended the rally in a private capacity.
Ms Altmann said they would continue apply pressure to make Lyndoch accountable. She led the crowd in a chant: "fight for Lyndoch".
CEO Doreen Power said she respected the rights of people to express opinions irrespective of whether they are different to those held by Lyndoch Living.
She said it had been hard to understand the constant attack on Lyndoch, her personally and the board.
"I'm very proud of everything we have done at Lyndoch, that's from my heart," she said.
"People leave organisations for many reasons."
She said residents did get upset with the comments being made.
Ms Power said the board can be made up of between seven and nine people, and at the moment they were staying with seven. "The board positions are skills-based," she said.
Board chairperson Sue Cassidy said people on the board, and sub-committees, were volunteers and not paid. "That means we are community members that are on the board," she said.
"The staff are incredible and have helped to keep the Lyndoch Living community safe."
Ms Power said Lyndoch had a workforce strategy, and to address the "not mets" in the audit it had engaged nurse advisors who had been working with Lyndoch since March last year.
"They are continuing to work with us. They're providing support and education to staff. The Royal Commission has changed how we provide care - the standards and expectations - it's a very different work environment," she said.
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