Originally established as a men’s refuge, St Mary’s Villa has served as an aged care facility for nearly four decades. Catholic Care NSW, the provider, made the decision to close the facility, citing its unsuitability for modern aged care requirements as the primary reason.
The closure coincides with the implementation of the Australian government’s aged care reforms, which emphasise the need for increased nursing staff requirements.
However, Catholic Healthcare’s acting CEO, Josh McFarlane, clarified that the closure was not directly related to the reforms but rather aimed to ensure the best possible care for residents and the community of Dubbo.
The closure announcement comes after St Mary’s Villa experienced a significant impact during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. The lack of adequate amenities during that time further underscored the challenges posed by the facility’s outdated infrastructure and highlighted the importance of having purpose-built homes that prioritise infection control practices.
Catholic Healthcare has pledged to assist the 36 affected residents in finding alternative accommodation before the closure. While the organisation operates another aged care facility in Dubbo equipped with modern amenities, it cannot guarantee that all residents will be accommodated there. Nevertheless, the commitment remains to work closely with each resident and their families to secure suitable alternative arrangements.
The organisation will remain open until all residents have been successfully relocated.
“We will work with every resident and every family to find alternative accommodation arrangements. And we will stay there as long as it takes,” McFarlane said.
Staff members will be redeployed wherever possible, although redundancies may be unavoidable. The fate of the Darling Street property, currently housing St Mary’s Villa, has yet to be determined but will continue to be owned by Catholic Healthcare.