A sod turning was held today to mark the start of a $15.9 million construction and refurbishment project at Terrace Gardens Aged Care Facility in Darwin.
Australian Regional and Remote Community Services Limited (ARRCS) will use federal Department of Health funding to add 32 new resident rooms to the facility, construct new staff amenities, refurbish all existing facilities, extend car parking and road access, and improve security.
Executive Director of ARCCS, Michelle McKay, the Honourable Peter Chandler MLA, the Mayor of Palmerston, Ian Abbott, and representatives of the Larrakia Nation turned the first sod on the site at a ceremony this morning.
Ms McKay said Terrace Gardens, which opened in 2002, had 56 active beds.
"The project will result in two 32 bed wings and include a 24 bed Memory Support Unit, giving a total capacity of 88 beds,’ Ms McKay said.
"After 12 months of planning and detailed design, we are very excited that the construction is due to start in the near future.
"Works will be staged to enable the facility to remain fully operational throughout the construction, which is expected to be completed by December 2018.
"We are very pleased that our residents will be able to enjoy a modern aged care facility, including a contemporary dementia care service facility, that reflects tropical Darwin in its style."
The new resident rooms and common areas will be built alongside existing rooms, creating larger linked wings rather than the existing standalone buildings.
"The majority of our residents will be able to enjoy having their own room with an ensuite, and there will be new common areas, including gardens, to enjoy with their family and visitors.
"Most importantly, the new design will facilitate more streamlined care for residents across the three wings, and enable the secure transit of staff through the site after hours," Ms McKay said.
An existing six bed unit in Maluka House will be demolished, with the beds replaced by extending and refurbishing the Hibiscus wing to provide a 24 bed Memory Support Unit.
"By redesigning the site, the impact of the site’s steep incline has been reduced, which helps with resident mobility and the delivery of food and laundry services," Ms McKay said.
The new 16 bed Gardenia House wing will be built as a ‘cyclone strengthened area’ for use as shelter during cyclonic conditions, with its own back-up power, separate water supply and additional window protection.
The activity centre, kitchen and laundry will be extended and refurbished, and a new staff room and amenities will be constructed. The reception and administration building will also be refurbished.
New air-conditioning and a state-of-the-art wireless nurse call system will be installed across the site, and a new entry will feature alongside new fencing.
ARRCS operates 10 residential care facilities and 11 community care services and programs in Darwin, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine, Mutitjulu, and Kal-tu-kat-jara (Docker River). It also provides Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) packages and Home Care Packages to approximately 2,500 people across the Northern Territory.
ARRCS is a service group of UnitingCare Queensland, and is supported by Blue Care, the aged and communit