Government action taken to protect aged care residents

Any kind of mistreatment of older Australians in the care of an aged care facility is completely unacceptable - Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield.

 

The health, safety and well-being of older people who reside in aged care facilities is of paramount importance to the Government.

 

When instances of abuse occur, or are alleged to occur, there are a number of regulatory mechanisms in place that will take effect.

 

These are designed to ensure that Approved providers of Aged Care comply with Government standards and regulations to ensure the safety of their residents and provide high quality care for older people.

 

The Government has taken regulatory action in relation to two facilities run by the Baptist Union of Queensland, Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield said.

 

Kepnock Grove Retirement Centre

As a result of allegations made against Kepnock Grove Retirement Centre aged care facility in Bundaberg last month, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency has instigated a comprehensive review of the facility’s operations.

 

On 26 February, the Department of Social Services issued a Notice of Non-Compliance requiring the provider to address identified deficiencies at this facility.

 

The provider now has 14 days to respond to the Notice, and depending on that response, the Department can issue further formal directions if warranted.

 

Sanctions can be imposed if the provider does not effectively address these issues.

 

Karinya Village Care Centre

The Quality Agency’s review was also expanded to include all facilities operated by the Baptist Union of Queensland.

 

The Quality Agency has visited each of their facilities over the last week and conducted a full review audit on eight of the nine facilities with an unannounced site visit at the remaining facility.

 

On 28 February, the Department received notification of a serious and immediate risk from the Quality Agency in relation to Karinya and imposed sanctions on Karinya immediately.

 

Karinya is located in the town of Laidley in Queensland and provides care for 59 residents.

 

These sanctions will require the Baptist Union of Queensland to:

  • Appoint an adviser approved by the Commonwealth within 5 days. The adviser will be required to be in place for 6 months.

  • Train staff on blood glucose management, dietary requirements, behaviour management and post-falls management clinical assessment within 3 months.

The current sanctions will remain in place for up to six months.

 

Commonwealth law allows for further action, including revocation of the Baptist Union of Queensland’s approved provider status, if deemed necessary to ensure the ongoing safety of residents.

 

During this time, Karinya will receive no new funding for new residents.

 

In addition, senior clinical staff of the Department of Social Services arrived on site this weekend to work in tandem with Quality Agency Officers to monitor service provision to residents.

 

The Provider will be required to arrange meetings with all residents and families so they are aware of the process and are supported throughout this time. Departmental officers will attend these meetings which are expected to occur early this week.

 

Mr Fifield said, “My absolute priority is the safety of residents and, while I do not want to cause unnecessary alarm, a swift response was required.

 

“The actions taken this weekend show that allegations against aged care providers are taken seriously and that the review audit process is working to protect residents as intended.

 

“The process is continuing with on-site assessments of all facilities now completed.

 

“Over this coming week the Quality Agency will finalise their audit reports and recommendations.

 

“The approved provider will then be given an opportunity to respond before the Quality Agency makes accreditation decisions for each home audited.”

 

DSS is also continuing its investigation into the quality of care across the Baptist Union of Queensland that commenced last month. The result of this investigation will be made public in coming weeks.

 

2 March 2015.