Aged care is a healthy business.
Until they start wheeling your clients out by the dozen on stretchers.
Some of them already dead.
Maserati owner and lover Areti Arvanitis with her pride and joy. Her husband Peter Arvanitis is an owner and director of Epping Gardens’ parent company, Heritage Care Pty Ltd
A resident of Epping Gardens Aged Care Facility is taken away in a ambulance last week
Areti and Peter Arvanitis (centre) reportedly own multimillion dollar properties and sports cars
As the bodies of the frail left Epping Gardens Aged Care last week, Peter Arvanitis and his glamorous wife Areti would have been shocked by the unfolding horror.
It was the same day Australia recorded its worst day for the number of coronavirus infections and deaths since the pandemic started, with 747 new cases reported in the prior 24 hours – 723 of them in Victoria.
Epping Gardens’ parent company, Heritage Care Pty Ltd, is directed and owned by multimillionaire aged-care moguls Tony Antonopoulos and Mr Arvanitis.
The company has a portfolio of nine residential aged care homes in Sydney and Melbourne.
Most of Epping Gardens’ clients have now been taken to hospital for their own safety after the dreaded COVID-19 virus managed to get inside and tear it apart.
Up to 138 cases and at least half-a-dozen deaths have been linked to the facility, which sits north west of Melbourne.
Residents living within the facility reportedly pay up to $650,000 in a refundable deposit just to get into the place.
Then they pay a daily fee.
Epping Gardens House of Horror
90 residents have now tested positive for COVID-19
48 staff have tested positive for COVID-19
27 residents remain on-site at Epping, 10 of whom are COVID-19 positive
It’s a lucrative business that a few years ago saw Mrs Arvantis turn up in a newspaper article draped over a Maserati.
Her husband also reportedly owns a Ferrari and a Lamborghini, which they used to keep at their leafy Toorak mansion before they sold it.
In 2014, Mrs Arvanitis told he Weekly Review she was a fan of luxury sports cars and had bought the vehicle for herself on her birthday.
‘Our cars are a reward for what we have worked to achieve,’ she said.
It’s a photo and statement that has come back to haunt the couple over recent days.
The owners of Epping Gardens have done very well out of aged care.
The Toorak mansion once owned by the multimillionaire owners of the doomed Epping Gardens Aged Care home in Melbourne
Residents continued to flow out of Epping Gardens Aged Care throughout Tuesday last week
Worried people were stopped at the doors of Epping Gardens Aged Care last week
Ambulances lined up outside Epping Gardens last week to take away the sick and vulnerable
Mr Arvanitis, who only joined Heritage Care a little over a year ago, was the founder and one-time director of listed for-profit nursing home giant Estia.
He sold his shareholding in 2016 for $55 million and quit the company after it hit trouble, SMH reported this week.
In 2018 he also sold a shopping centre he owned and a thoroughbred horse breeding farm, scoring another $21 million.
In May, they sold the family’s Toorak mansion for an undisclosed amount somewhere in the range of $13 million.
It had been described in Vogue Living as ‘the Melbourne mansion with Gucci in almost every room’.
A ‘digitally collaged tableau’ on one wall told of ‘the gluttonous trappings of wealth within a classical framework’, the Vogue article said.
Ms Arvanitis’s bedroom was described as a ‘a first-floor boudoir that is off-the-charts big, fitted with banks of Gucci-filled cabinets and furnished with one-of-a-kind art and objects commissioned by the Italian fashion house in esteem of her patronage’.
Epping Gardens Aged Care became a home of horrors for its elderly residents once COVID-19 worked its way inside
Areti and Peter Arvanitis enjoy a million dollar lifestyle
Federal MP Andrew Giles hit Twitter this week noting the gap between the Arvanitis home and the condition in their nursing homes.
‘This says too much about aged care,’ he tweeted.
He was not alone in his observations as social media went into overdrive.
Last week, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he would not let his mum be in some of the state’s private aged care facilities grappling with coronavirus outbreaks.
‘My mother is in her mid-70s, she has some underlying health issues but she lives at home,’ he said.
‘Some of the stories we’ve seen are unacceptable and I wouldn’t want my mum in some of those places, but that’s not a matter for me.’
On Tuesday, Mr Andrews announced another 11 people in aged care had died, including a woman in her 100s, a man in his 70s, four people in their 80s and three in their 90s.
The founder and co-owner of Heritage Care, Tony Antonopoulos, reportedly lives in a mansion in Canterbury – another swish suburb east of Melbourne.
Areti and Peter Arvanitis (left) have previously bragged about a love of sports cars
One of the palatial rooms in a Toorak home once owned by Peter Arvanitis and his glamorous wife Areti
He picked that up in 2015 for for a cool $10.5 million.
Meanwhile, the real victims of the aged care disaster hit out in Epping where their loved ones have battling the outbreak.
Some physically lashed out at the building after being denied entry last week.
On Tuesday, the aged care regulator announced it had taken action against Epping Gardens for breaching care and management standards.
It found Epping Gardens in breach of 16 standards, including requirements that residents get safe and effective clinical care, that there be effective management of high-impact or high-prevalence risks, and that the risk of infection be minimised.
Just months earlier the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission had given it a clean bill of health.
The Guardian reported other standards being breached included a requirement to have systems in place for ‘identifying and responding to abuse and neglect of consumers’.
Epping Gardens is now under the control of staff from Victorian health authority Austin Health, which covers Melbourne’s north-east.
Another room in a Toorak home once owned by Peter Arvanitis and his glamorous wife Areti
Paramedics take away another resident from Epping Gardens last week
Distraught family members were turned away from Epping Gardens last week
It is now one of four facilities to be taken over by state or federal health authorities amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Families of residents housed at Epping Gardens have lashed out at the care they had been provided since learning of the outbreak about a week before sick patients were evacuated.
Many describe disturbing scenes of neglect, with one man claiming his dead mother lay in the home for 26 hours as he tried to make arrangements to pick up her body.
Last week, a elderly residents were being wheeled out of Epping Gardens to waiting ambulances, chief executive Greg Reeve turned up on site.
A registered nurse himself, Mr Reeve had come to pitch in and help his overworked staff.
Not only had the home suffered from staff members contracting COVID, but it had been forced to isolate those who had been in contact.
‘Of course I can understand the anxiety of the families. Both my parents died in nursing homes,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. ‘But we can’t have people threatening our staff and intimidating them when we’re trying help.’
So dire had the situation become inside that trained administration staffers threw down their pencils to help out as qualified nurses, including the company’s state manager from NSW who was trapped in Victoria.
‘We’ve exhausted everything to the point that our corporate staff – that is our support staff – are in there now,’ he said. ‘We do have the ability to perform the care, but only for a smaller cohort of residents that are well.’
Mr Reeve said he had been working with the Federal Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck to get workers inside.
Asked if he was getting adequate help, Mr Reeve said:.
‘I’m working with Richard Colbeck – he’s been very helpful and that’s all I’m going to say,’ he said.
At the time, Mr Reeve did not even know why soldiers were now inside the Epping home.
‘That’s what I’ve come here to find out,’ he said at the time. ‘ All I know is the department and the quality and safety commission are heavily involved now.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the home in order to speak with the owners and management.