Catholic Healthcare outlines changes after audit finds Forbes aged care facility non-compliant

Catholic Healthcare says it will
Catholic Healthcare says it will "re-double efforts" to ensure Jemalong delivers the highest quality care every day.

The Aged Care Commission has released its report into non-compliance with Aged Care Quality standards at Catholic Healthcare's Jemalong Residential Village in Forbes.

The report reveals the Aged Care Commission found the town's only residential aged care facility non-compliant with 37 of 42 standards when they carried out an unannounced audit in June this year.

Catholic Healthcare says it has made changes including recruiting additional staff since the Aged Care Commission sanctioned the residential aged care facility as a result of that audit.

"We are deeply disappointed and sorry that our care did not meet our standards," a statement to the Advocate says.

"We are committed to ensuring Jemalong delivers the highest quality care every day and will re-double our efforts to achieve this.

"Over the last two months, we have made progress, but we have further to go."

The care of residents who displayed aggression, of one resident who was assaulted by another resident, and the provision of basic hygiene services were highlighted in the 63-page report published on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website.

"Consumers have been assaulted by other consumers and behaviour management strategies have not been developed to minimise the risk of reoccurrence," the report said.

"Falls prevention strategies have not been implemented to decrease the risk of further falls.

"Consumers do not receive appropriate care including personal hygiene, adequate fluids and effective pain management."

The report points to staffing levels as key.

"Staff are not satisfied with staffing levels and confirm this impacts on their ability to meet the needs and preferences of consumers," the report states.

"Staff confirm a lack of staffing causes delays in the administration of medication, the provision of preferred hygiene care, the supervision of consumers at risk of falling, providing care not in accordance with care planning directives and the inability to provide emotional support."

'Changes are being made'

Catholic Healthcare says it has a six-month action plan to address the issues that have been identified and has appointed external, independent advisors to oversee its progress.

Actions to date include:

  • Communication with residents and families, including early with residents and families to discuss the audit followed by updates and ongoing meetings;
  • Recruitment and appointment of additional registered nurses - including sponsoring overseas-trained nurses due to the local RN shortage;
  • Recruitment of senior clinical leaders, including a new Deputy Manager and Quality and Education Coordinator;
  • Undertaking a staff engagement survey and providing additional clinical education for all staff;
  • Reassessment of residents, including updating individual care plans and case conferences with families as appropriate;
  • Re-programming of the nurse call system;
  • Introduction of new internal audit and review process;
  • A full audit of all resident medications by a third-party specialist.

Catholic Healthcare also says it has brought forward a refurbishment program including re-carpeting, painting and landscaping.

"We have served Forbes and the surrounding rural community for many years and our staff have grown up with our residents," their statement to the Advocate says.

"We recognise we provide an essential service and we do not take this responsibility lightly."

The organisation has been meeting with community leaders in Forbes and discussing ways the community can be more involved with the Home into the future - as they were through the Forbes Jemalong Aged Peoples Association and Mater Community Advisory Committee.

Mayor Phyllis Miller OAM said council would work with Catholic Healthcare, as a team.

"Aged care has been in the spotlight lately particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone needs to be aiming higher to ensure the utmost is being done for our senior citizens," she said.

Mayor Miller has invited the community to contact either herself or General Manager, Steve Loane, at Forbes Shire Council if they have concerns.

From the report

The Commission reported one occasion where a resident required sutures after being assaulted by another resident - and said at that time behaviour management strategies had not been developed to minimise the risk of reoccurrence.

The Commission reports that the assistance of a dementia advisory service was to be sought, in addition to a review of the environment in the dementia support unit and an increase in staffing.

The Commission's report highlighted the need for more lifestyle staffing hours for residents living with a diagnosis of dementia in the secure needs unit.

One person was observed to be distressed during the Commission's audit, another was wandering and calling out.

The review of medication follows one incident cited in the report where a resident had an unwitnessed fall after being administered chemical restraint.

One resident experienced a delay of nine days from initial symptoms of a urinary tract infection before "appropriate clinical care", which was provided when they were hospitalised.

For another, there was a seven-day delay in the administration of prescribed antibiotics for their infected wound.

Commission will follow up

The sanctions mean that new residents will not be accepted for six months (from the date of sanctioning) and that JRV will need to be audited again for accreditation by May 2021.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission holds regular meetings with and is receiving fortnightly updates from the independent advisor appointed to JRV.

"The Commission has also attended the service since the sanction was issued, including an unannounced assessment contact to monitor progress on 8 and 9 September 8 and 9," the spokesperson said.

Concerns about aged care services can be raised via the Commission's website www.agedcarequality.gov.au or by calling 1800 951 822.