JRV advisory committee forms, mayor takes seat at table

Jemalong Residential Village.
Jemalong Residential Village.

The council has nominated Mayor Phyllis Miller OAM as its representative on a new Jemalong Residential Village Community Advisory Committee.

The formation of the committee is one of the measures Catholic Healthcare has announced after Forbes' only residential aged care facility was found to be non-compliant in 37 of 42 of its industry standards earlier this year.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has placed sanctions on the Forbes facility and new residents are not being accepted for six months.

Letters published in the council papers reveal Mayor Miller wrote to Catholic Healthcare requesting the establishment of the committee, and specifically requesting that it have a professional make-up and report directly to the board.

"The Forbes community has made a large investment into this facility and remains committed to seeing it back on track, looking after our much-loved aged residents to a high standard," Mayor Miller wrote.

Mayor Miller also wrote to Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck, seeking his support for a Compliance and Complaints Committee by Statute.

"I absolutely need your support to help fix these issues and to provide a facility that everyone can have faith in and be proud of," the letter states.

In a letter to the chair of Trustees of Catholic Healthcare, Mayor Miller explained she had been contacted by residents, families and staff in a confidential basis for many months.

"Living in rural and regional areas make it even more important that we have a functional aged care facility, so that residents do not have to leave their families and friends," she wrote.

At the October council meeting, councillors accepted the invitation to join the community advisory committee.

Catholic Healthcare says it hopes to have it up and running as early as this month, pending the availability of the members.

It will include members of the local community as well as an authorised representative of a resident of the home, Catholic Healthcare said in a statement to the Advocate on Friday.

"When the Committee is finalised we will provide further details of its composition and objectives," the statement said.

The committee was in existence at The Mater Forbes prior to The Mater being transferred into an enlarged Jemalong Residential Village about two years ago.

"We will continue to keep residents, families and community members informed of progress," Catholic Healthcare said in its statement.

Mr Maher's letter, dated October 1, states that a new Deputy Residential Manager and Quality and Education Manager have started and been introduced at two information forums at the home.

Three new registered nurses commenced October 1, a customer service manager and head chef are being recruited.

Mr Maher said 150 individual care plans had been reviewed, and the use of psychotropic medications is being reduced following review by GPs.

Catholic Healthcare continues to report weekly to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission under the terms of the sanction.

In their letters to the council, as published in the meeting papers, Catholic Healthcare does refute some of the claims about resident care that have been shared through other media coverage.