Maitland’s home for the aged Benhome is in the middle of an $18 million redevelopment.

An $18 million revamp is underway at Maitland’s home for the aged Benhome.
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DIGGING DEEP: Benhome’s Director of Services Irene Gill, Site Manager Andre Bartley, and Benhome CEO Neil Sutherland. PICTURE: Jonathan Carroll.

Work started on the Regent Street site in April this year and is expected to be completed mid to late 2017.

Benhome CEO Neil Sutherland said the work involved the installation of on-site demountable buildings to accommodate a temporary kitchen, stores and staff amenities.

The new works will accommodate 45 additional residential aged care beds and an additional 14 replacement beds.On completion the new works will mean Benhome will be able to accommodate 121 permanent residents and close to 100 staff.

Mr Sutherland saidthe relocation of other services including physiotherapy, laundry, staff offices and maintenance department all needed to take place before half of the property was handed over to builderstodemolishbuildings that had become outdated for providing aged care.

He said the expansion will also incorporate a new function room and attached servery from the kitchen to seat 150 people. It will also have an operable wall for partitioning into two function areas including a chapel.

Builders will also work on anew main entry and reception area, new kitchen and laundry, new physiotherapy centre (gym), doctors’ consulting room, physiotherapy, dental and hairdressing clinics, a new men’s shed, emergency power generation room, maintenance department, additional 30 car parking spaces and two 23-person lifts.

Mr Sutherland said the expansion is a sign of the times withBenhome, like most other aged care facilities, experiencing lengthy waiting lists.“We do have a lengthy waiting list,” he said. “The disappointing aspect will be that for every place offered on completion, there will be three families for every place offered that will be disappointed.”

He said the expansion has meant many jobs during the construction phase and will result in additional positions being created in registered nursing, carers and hotel support service staff (catering, cleaning and kitchen), once the new buildings are commissioned.

Benhome is also hoping to significantly increase its home care services from February.