The Claud Switzer Memorial Trust board has approved a plan to make a major change to the service provided by the Kaitaia rest home Switzer Residential Care, and hopes to have hammers swinging within the next four months.
General manager Jackie Simkins said the proposal, which was expected to cost up to $2 million, would address the increasing need to provide dementia care, and the fact that the need for rest home care was declining.
"The board is very keen to establish a dementia unit," she said.
"Several people from this community have had to move elsewhere this year, and that is not something we want to see continue."
The role of the home had changed over the years, she added.
People were now living longer, becoming more frail, and needed more complex care. Many of those arriving now were in need of hospital-level care, and palliative care was increasingly in demand.
The need for rest home beds was falling, however, the board seeing the opportunity to meet the need for dementia care by reassigning half those 43 beds, while retaining the 46 hospital beds.
Two of the older wings would be partially reconfigured, while the new build would include a large lounge/dining area with a deck and access to a garden area.
It was also proposed to build a glass corridor across and giving access to part of an existing garden.
The new facility would have a separate entrance, but Mrs Simkins did not expect that more staff would be needed.
The process of obtaining a resource consent, if needed, was about to begin, and potential funding agencies would be approached, but the board was hoping that the community would also contribute.
"We really will need local support," Mrs Simkins added.
"Maybe families with an older member who will be coming to us would like to contribute to the cost of a room. Any contribution, of whatever size, will be very gratefully accepted."
Trust board chairman Peter Dryburgh agreed that community support would be needed, and was confident that it would be forthcoming.
"We have never been a wealthy community, but this has never held us back," he said.