Bethel Aged Care Facility and Tinonee Gardens The Multicultural Village sanctioned for not meeting accreditation standards in unannounced audits

TWO aged care facilities in Waratah have been penalised by the Department of Health after officials deemed them an “immediate and severe risk” to the safety of residents.

Bethel Aged Care Facility and Tinonee Gardens The Multicultural Village cannot allocate vacant residential care places, and will not receive Commonwealth subsidies for new residents, for six months.

Bethel, owned by Empowered Living Support Services, failed to meet 21 of the 44 “expected outcomes” required to comply with national accreditation standards during an “unannounced” Australian Aged Care Quality Agency audit in May.

The subsequent report, published on the Quality Agency’s website, said call bells were not answered in a timely manner, that the bathrooms and toilets observed during the audit were “not clean,” and that residents did not feel they were treated with respect.

The facility was found to have insufficient “appropriately skilled and qualified staff.” It had failed to provide a “safe and comfortable environment consistent with the needs of care recipients.”

Pain management options were not offered, used or monitored to ensure residents were “as free as possible from pain,” and specialised nursing care needs were not being met by appropriately qualified staff.

Feedback detailed in the report showed staff felt unable to complete all of their duties within the time allocated when “all rostered shifts” were not filled.

Australian Aged Care Quality Agency chief executive Nick Ryan said Bethel had been placed on a “timetable for improvement.”

“The timetable allows for the home to take action to rectify the non-compliance before another full audit is conducted,” Mr Ryan said.

Gary Brassington, the care manager at Bethel in Waratah, said they had taken “immediate action” in response to the Department of Health sanction.

“Additional staff resources have been brought in and we have reviewed our operational procedures to ensure the issues identified are rectified,” he said.

“We have met with residents and their families and will continue to work with the regulator to ensure we continue to provide the home-like environment and high quality care expected by our residents.”

Tinonee Gardens was sanctioned by the Department of Health for the second time in 14 months.

Concern: Tinonee Gardens aged care facility in Waratah has been sanctioned by the Department of Health after an unannounced audit. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Concern: Tinonee Gardens aged care facility in Waratah has been sanctioned by the Department of Health after an unannounced audit. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The Quality Agency conducted an unannounced review audit at Tinonee Gardens in June to assess the home’s compliance against the expected outcomes of the accreditation standards.

The audit found the facility had failed to meet 13 of the 44 expected outcomes.

“Following an audit, procedural fairness allows for the home to respond to the findings of the assessment team and the decision maker to consider this response, along with any available additional information, before a decision on the home’s compliance with the Standards is made,” he said.

“The assessment team’s initial findings have also been provided to the Department of Health for its consideration. A report will be available on the Quality Agency’s website once a final decision is made.

“The Quality Agency continues to monitor Tinonee Gardens Multicultural Village for compliance.”

Problems identified in the audit related to pain and continence management, skin care, privacy and dignity, regulatory compliance and clinical care.

Neil Sutherland, the recently appointed acting chief executive officer of Tinonee Gardens, said a nurse adviser and aged care administrators had been appointed – as required under the sanction – to enact improvements for the residents, families and carers, and staff.

“Some improvements, such as increased staffing, have already been implemented,” Mr Sutherland said.

“However, many improvements will require careful consideration, consultation and planning prior to implementation.

“The board and management team of Tinonee Gardens wish to apologise to the staff, residents, families and carers for their failure to establish, implement and monitor effective systems and processes to ensure that the care needs of all residents were being adequately attended to and monitored.”

“[We] wish to acknowledge the impact of the imposition of sanctions upon the staff,” he said. “Concerns and feedback are being noted.”

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