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Delays expected in the return of residents to a refurbished Ziman House

Tuesday 3 May 2022Health news3 minutes to read

The re-opening of Reefton’s Ziman House will be delayed while a recruitment process to staff the facility is completed. West Coast DHB’s General Manager Philip Wheble says that initially our plan was to repatriate Ziman House residents in mid-June 2022, however their return had always been dependent on the recruitment of appropriately skilled, Aged Residential Care (ARC) trained staff.

“The reality is that recruiting into health care roles across New Zealand is challenging and more so for rural locations like the West Coast where the majority of facilities are currently recruiting due to workforce shortages. This situation has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the extended border closure, as we rely on healthcare staff coming into New Zealand from overseas especially within the aged care sector.

“With the borders now open, we are advertising to fill vacancies across the West Coast Health system, including ARC registered nurse vacancies. Our recruitment strategy includes talent-sourcing nationally and internationally, multi-channel advertising across all job boards, targeted campaigns, recruitment open days and attendance at Career Expos.”

The initial phase of the DHB recruitment campaign for ARC trained RNs has yielded a good level of interest, but this has not converted to employment offers yet. The campaign will now add a direct contact approach, alongside the current digital promotion.  

Coupled with the shortage of ARC-trained staff, the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Coast has come later than expected and this is having significant impact on ARC facilities. All ARC facilities have had COVID-19 cases among staff or residents and some facilities have had multiple exposure events.

The West Coast DHB currently supports three of the five ARC facilities with registered nurses and health care assistants to ensure safe staffing levels for the residents in each of these facilities. The DHB is unable to maintain this level of support and we are working with the Greymouth facilities to co-locate care, so the registered nurse workforce can support those who most need it: Hospital level-of-care residents.

Until all ARC facilities on the Coast have recruited sufficient staff to ensure the appropriate care of their residents, Ziman House must unfortunately remain closed.

“The DHB acknowledges that this situation will be unsettling for families whose loved ones have been moved from Ziman House and it will have ongoing impact for families as they travel to visit,” Mr Wheble says.

“What is exciting is that residents will return to a fully refurbished facility which includes new equipment such as beds and furniture as well as new curtains and flooring. Some bathrooms have been modified and all residents’ rooms are being painted.

“Reefton Area School has also kindly committed to creating some artwork for the refreshed walls of Ziman House, to welcome the residents back. This fantastic offer is reflective of the wider Reefton community’s enthusiasm and involvement in issues that matter to the community,” says Mr Wheble.

“We are currently advertising a new leadership role to strengthen aged care leadership both in Reefton and across the Coast.”

If you or anyone you know is interested in working in Reefton’s Ziman House, please get in contact with our recruitment team.

More information is available on the WCDHB Careers page –



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Page last updated: 3 May 2022

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