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Catholic Healthcare staff ‘shine’ during the bushfires

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In the true spirit of compassion and hospitality, teams from Catholic Healthcare have gone above and beyond to help residents, colleagues and the community impacted by the bushfires.

In December, The Haven Residential Aged Care Home in Wagga Wagga opened its doors to 27 residents of Blakeney Lodge, Tumut, patients from Tumut Hospital and residents from Tumut, Batlow and Tumbarumba.

Residential Manager of The Haven, Stacy Moses said, “We were only too happy to help and accommodate the visiting residents, patients and community members until the catastrophic fire danger had passed. Quality care, compassion, hospitality and kindness are who we are at The Haven.

“Staff and the Residential Manager of Blakeney Lodge, Kerry Kelly, also came to The Haven to support their residents and provide familiarity and stability. They went out of their way to help those in need. Some of our people had to evacuate their own homes in Tumut due to the fires. Yet they still came to work at The Haven to care for the residents. Staff from The Haven even offered accommodation to their colleagues. There was a real sense of community with everyone willing to do their part to help out during the crisis period.”

A further 118 residents were evacuated from Bodington Home at Wentworth Falls in December and welcomed by other Catholic Healthcare Homes as well as Anglicare’s Melva McDonald Lodge in Rooty Hill.

Care Manager of Bodington, Sue Gordon said, “Several staff from Bodington accompanied the residents to their visiting homes which was amazing given some staff had to evacuate their own family homes due to the threat of bushfires. Staff continued to give our residents first-class care.”

On New Year’s Eve, with fires raging across the NSW south coast, staff from Maranatha Lodge in Batehaven were advised to ‘shelter in place’. Later that day, the Home lost mains power and phones. With roads closed (cutting off supplies of food and medicine), it was an extremely difficult time for staff and residents.

Regional Manager, Melinda White said, “It was a very stressful time. The fires impacted many of our staff. Some lost their homes and many were unable to return to their own homes. But they bravely kept going and returned to provide care for our residents.

“The community also came to our rescue,” added Melinda.

Bells Carnival circus lent Maranatha a generator. Opal Aged Care provided spare linen while roads were closed. Maranatha was also able to help the community whilst power was down.

“We welcomed people from the region that had nowhere else to go. We had families who were without power, coming in to have a hot shower and do a load of washing,” said Melinda.

Throughout this period, the staff at Maranatha Lodge remained resilient and positive.

General Manager, Residential Care, Andrew Kinkade said, “I am incredibly proud of the way our people responded. It was inspiring to visit the team and see them in action. Our care staff kept smiling, our chef Graham and the kitchen team ensured everyone was well-fed and Bernie and our maintenance team kept everyone safe.

“Everyone went above and beyond,” added Andrew.

Bushfires are currently devastating several communities across Australia. Vinnies is on the ground helping people as they deal with the immediate aftermath of fires. If you would like to donate to the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal please click here.