Families defend Garrawarra: 'It takes those others reject'

Garrawarra Centre is the facility of last resort for many families with loved ones with dementia – and they’re crossing their fingers that it regains its accreditation.

Many took to social media this week to defend the embattled Waterfall facility, after the release of a damning report by a federal government agency.

The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency report revealed that Garrawarra met just 37 of 44 expected outcomes of the national accreditation standards. 

The report stated that the dementia-specific facility, run by NSW Health, was failing to provide a safe environment for residents who were frequently being assaulted by other patients.

It stands to lose its approval as an aged care provider if it doesn’t meet all standards by November 27.

Wollongong woman Shayne Hope was one of many to defend the centre and its staff, claiming her mother-in-law was receiving the best of care at the facility.

‘’If Garrawarra loses their accreditation there are so many families in the Illawarra that will be absolutely (stuffed),’’ she said. ‘’This place takes the hardest residents, the ones all the other facilities don’t want.’’

Ms Hope said her relative had been hospitalised 10 times at a previous aged care facility due to lack of supervision. ‘’We had to move her to Garrawarra by their request and the staff are brilliant.’’

Trina Andersson also commented on a Mercury article on the centre’s failings earlier this week. 

‘’This is one of the only facilities that will actually accept residents whose behaviours are so bad no other place will take them in,’’ she stated.

‘’How do you better manage those behaviours when you need to respect the individuals’ rights to choice and freedom.

‘’It’s unlawful to sedate or restrain residents because it takes away from their well-being yet they are a danger to themselves, staff and other residents.’’

Telysha Najdovski, who undertook training at the centre, praised the staff: ‘’It takes very caring, patient nurses to work at Garrawarra due to the behaviours they are subjected to daily’’.

Meantime Collene Hill said aged care was ‘’under-resourced, understaffed and underfunded’’. She added: ‘’For an ageing country, I do not wish to get old’’.

South Eastern Sydney Local Health District chief executive Gerry Marr said management and staff were working with the quality agency to make the required improvements.

‘’We are confident that we will be able to regain our full accreditation status within a short period of time,’’ he said.

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