A brand new $20 million aged care facility for 127 residents at Quakers Hill, NSW, has officially opened, replacing the original home that was gutted by flames on November 18, 2011.
Designed by Allen Jack+Cottier and owned by Domain Principal Group (DPG), the new Quakers Hill Nursing Home provides three times the amount of communal and leisure spaces as the former home, and includes a range of design features that will assist its residents with wayfinding and orientation.
A diversity of communal areas both inside and outside have been introduced, with the facility providing 27 more resident beds as compared to the original building. There is also a purpose-built dementia wing.
In the heart of the new home lies a memorial garden paying tribute to those killed and injured during the fire, establishing a connection with its past while forging new links and watching life grow in the spaces around.
A view of the Quakers Hill Nursing Home's memorial garden. Source: News Limited
“Our brief was to create a high quality, contemporary living facility that is both functional, and also in a real sense, a home,” said Sean Bilton, general manager – commercial at DPG at the facility’s official opening ceremony.
“We are absolutely delighted with the outcome. The end result is a very special building, which will hold a special place in this community.”
The building has been described by DPG’s managing director Gary Barnier as really homely, with “grand spaces where people can come together”. Other key facilities include a hairdressing salon, four dining rooms and television rooms.
The hairdressing salon at Quakers Hill Nursing Home. Source: News Limited
The Daily Telegraph reports that NSW Fire and Rescue firefighters examined the home during the week.
“It’s a totally different end of the spectrum,” noted Brett Johnson, a Blacktown firefighter who was one of the first on the scene.
“I would say that this is the most sophisticated facility in terms of fire systems. It feels like it’s totally different premises.”
The foyer of the contemporary Quakers Hill Nursing Home. Source: News Limited
The fire had prompted an overhaul of the rules surrounding fire safety in aged care homes, with the NSW Government announcing in August 2012 that it was mandatory for all residential aged care facilities to have an automatic sprinkler system installed. This Standard has recently been updated.
Eleven residents aged between 73 to 90 died in the tragic 2011 fire, with a further eight people seriously injured by the flames and smoke. Roger Dean, who was working at the home as a nurse at the time of the fire, is currently serving a life sentence for murder over the blaze.
The first residents will begin moving into the new facility from mid March.
All images courtesy of The Daily Telegraph