Residents' families have reacted with shock after it was announced Merimbula's aged care home would be closing some of its beds.
RSL LifeCare announced on Monday, May 16, it will be closing its aged care beds on levels 1 and 2 at Albert Moore Gardens in Bimbimbie, for at least 12 months.
The facility has also said it would not be accepting any new residents during that time.
Albert Moore Gardens currently has 68 aged care beds, of which 15 would be affected by what the facility operator called a "temporary suspension".
The announcement comes just five months after the closure of RSL LifeCare's Roy Wotton Gardens facility in Eden, which housed 24 residents with mostly high-care needs.
Eden residents were moved to RSL LifeCare's Hugh Cunningham Gardens home at Tura Beach or to the Merimbula facility.
RSL LifeCare confirmed with ACM there would be no residents from Roy Wotton Gardens in Eden affected by their latest decision.
RSL LifeCare general manager Matthew Filocamo said in a statement that the closures were mainly the result of the inability to attract trained staff.
"The ability of aged care providers across Australia to recruit residential aged care staff has been progressively in decline for the past few years," he said.
"Where we cannot ensure we have enough trained staff in one location, a reduction in the number of residents is the responsible approach to take."
RSL LifeCare said the facilities it planned to move residents to were not facing the same staffing issues as Albert Moore Gardens
The statement made to the families whose relative resided at the facility indicated all arrangements and any relocation costs associated with the change in residence would be covered by the provider.
Mr Filocamo also said the process would not be immediate and take approximately 4-6 weeks to ensure that it was done "carefully and respectfully for residents".
Beth Smith from Tura Beach described being "in shock" after reading the email sent to families, since her father was only just moved from Eden to Merimbula in December 2021.
Although her father resides on level 3, she said there were residents on levels 1 and 2 that were moved from Eden. Originally families were told Eden residents would be moved to Tura Beach, but Ms Smith said the only room offered to her father was inadequate.
"Dad was beside himself at the thought of being stuck with 14 strangers so I declined the room on that basis and that was the only room I have been offered."
Ms Smith said she had petitioned RSL LifeCare to keep the residents from Eden together at a wing at Tura Beach for the mental health and wellbeing of the residents, "but they said they didn't have the staff".
"Now we've got this situation where there are people who will be moved again to somewhere unspecified," she said.
"The other thing is the dining rooms are on those levels so I don't know what they're planning to do."
"At a time in their life when they need stability and calm and looking after and the least amount of disruption as possible - they're getting this," said Ms Smith.
According to an email distributed to the families of Albert Moore Gardens residents, RSL LifeCare regional manager Mark Duggan would be hosting a meeting on site this Thursday, May 19, to further discuss the announcement.
*An earlier version of this article said some residents affected by this latest closure are among those who were relocated into the facility from Eden, but RSL LifeCare confirmed this statement was incorrect.
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