Seymour’s Barrabill House aged care facility is one step closer to a major upgrade with the tender process now open for the $3.17 million redevelopment.
The project will increase the number of beds at Barrabill House to 40 thanks to a new 10-bed dementia-capable wing.
Seymour Health chief executive Ward Steet said Australia was experiencing increased incidences of dementia across the country.
“The funding that Seymour Health has received positions Seymour Health to better care for this cohort of residents into the future,” he said.
“The demand for residential aged care in the Seymour area is significant. The local community has an aged population demographic in excess of the state average and, with forecast growth, demand for residential aged care services into the future is only expected to grow.”
New dining and lounge areas will also make residents feel at home, with a new sensory garden and outdoor pavilion to provide additional space for residents to socials and meet family and friends.
A unique virtual reality experience allowed Barrabill House staff and community members to provide feedback on the facility’s design to ensure it meets the needs of residents and staff alike.
Technical drawings of the redevelopment were transformed into virtual reality, allowing staff and community members to walk through the aged care facility wearing a VR headset.
Mr Steet said Seymour Health drove the design process for the new wing based on state-of-the-art evidence-based dementia design principles.
“Being able to show a three-dimensional depiction of the new wing made it far easier for the staff and residents to appreciate what was being proposed,” he said.
“This made the consultations with the various groups far more meaningful and the feedback received around proposed design significantly more useful in informing design changes to ensure the design was both practical for staff and resident friendly.”
A builder is expected to be announced by the end of the year, with constriction to begin in early 2021 and scheduled to be completed by mid-2022.
Funding for the redevelopment came from the State Government’s $350 million Regional Health Infrastructure Fund.
Mr Steet said the project became more real once it went out to tender.
“The staff especially have appreciated the opportunity for input into the project and are really looking forward to seeing their input come to life,” he said.
“Once the new wing is completed the next phase is to seek further funding to refurbish the existing facility bringing up to the specifications being adopted for the new wing.”
Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said Victorians in rural and regional areas deserved to have modern and efficient health care services close to home.
“This upgrade means Seymour Health can care for more residents in a home-like environment with more privacy and comfort,” she said.