Laurina Lodge Nursing Home in Heyfield recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and someone who could attest to the facility’s successful longevity is long-time resident, 95-year-old Norma Grainger.

Norma entered the Laurina Lodge doors with her husband, William (Sandy) Grainger, one week after they opened in 1994 to begin what has been a memorable two decades.

Sandy suffered a severe stroke in 1994 before the decision was made to relocate into the new Laurina Lodge. With Norma as his main carer, they were both welcomed into the facility.

Norma’s daughter, Sue Ingrouille, happened to be the manager of Laurina Lodge at the time.

“My parents were so in love, they were allowed to share a room so they could hold hands at night,” Sue remembered.

“There were only 29 beds back then and it was a low-care facility so things were more flexible.”

Sandy sadly passed away not long after the pair moved into Laurina Lodge. Ladies Auxiliary member, Helene (Helly) Dennis, remembered Sandy fondly.

“He was the most divine man,” she said, “we all loved him.”

It is this sense of connection and community that has built strong bonds between the residents, staff and volunteers that has only grown during the facility’s 25 year life.

“This place is the epitome of community,” said Heyfield Hospital Inc. and Laurina Lodge Board President, Raelene Hanratty.

“Laurina Lodge would not exist if it wasn’t for the community who fundraised more than $700,000 to have it built. The community developed this fond sense of ownership of Laurina Lodge right from the start and this has flowed through.”

Of that $700,000, $500,000 was received from door-to-door fundraising and $200,000 was raised by the local RSL. This accompanied a $1 million Federal Government grant.

This ‘family focussed’ approach to business seems to be a great recipe for success for staff also, with a number of long-time employees with up to 25 years of service including Sissy Stinton, Mel Stroud, Lyn Ruff and Kate Clear.

“If it isn’t broke, why fix it?” Mrs Ingrouille said.

“Laurina Lodge has residents and staff who have known and ‘lived’ with one another for 25 years, it has around 40 dedicated registered and non-registered volunteers, and it’s unique in that GPs, the hospital and the nursing home are all under one roof.”

Something Norma described as being “pretty alright.”

Caption: Norma Grainger celebrated her 25 years at Laurina Lodge with an afternoon tea and specially made cake. She was joined by Heyfield Hospital Inc. and Laurina Lodge Board President, Raelene Hanratty, her daughter, Sue Ingrouille and facility Manager, Sally Weatherley.


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