Earle Haven is going to be a significant problem for the retirement village sector because it is another very strong attack on ‘consumer trust’ – for two reasons.
From the moment the story broke in the media the aged care home was titled ‘Earle Haven Retirement Village”, because that is its legal name.
(The above picture is its listing on the government’s MyAgedCare website).
For most of the public it was a retirement village that had its residents cast out on the street, with every commentator stating that this was “an unprecedented and disgusting act”, with no separation of retirement villages from aged care homes.
The second challenge to ‘trust’ is that the official owner/operator of the home is the owner of the retirement village – People Care.
No matter how you look at it, People Care is incriminated in abandonment. At best, they selected HelpStreet to operate the home and that was a bad decision – but it will reflect on their duty of care for residents.
HelpStreet is not a small player and has a lot to lose. They will be fighting to not allow the mud to stick to them. This will play out for a long time and you can be assured will be increasingly ugly (if that is possible).
The story is already drawing out the critics of the retirement village sector and giving fuel to regulators, already active in the sector.
We will discuss this in more detail tomorrow and a special The Weekly SOURCE edition, which will include the details of a village resident meeting taking place at this hour.