The clock's ticking for Hillside and Garrawarra aged care facilities

Below par: Hillside at Figtree met just 26 of the 44 expected outcomes in an audit by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency in April. Picture: Robert Peet

Below par: Hillside at Figtree met just 26 of the 44 expected outcomes in an audit by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency in April. Picture: Robert Peet

Two Illawarra aged care facilities under sanctions for failing to meet national standards of care are confident they will make the grade when their time’s up.

Earlier this year the privately run Hillside at Figtree and the state-run Garrawarra Centre were given six months to meet all 44 expected outcomes of the national accreditation standards.

The Federal Department of Health has given Hillside until October 22 to meet the standards, and Garrawarra until November 27, or their approval as providers of aged care services may be revoked.

Hillside met just 26 of the 44 expected outcomes in an audit by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, which led to the sanctions being imposed on April 22.

The management of pain and medication; nutrition and hydration; skin care and continence were among the areas to fall below accepted standards. According to the report ‘’insufficient staffing’’ was part of the problem. 

However a Hillside spokeswoman said the facility had increased staffing levels, and was ‘’well on track to ensure compliance is achieved’’.

‘’It has always been our priority to meet every outcome raised in the audit in the timeframe and we are confident the procedures and policies we are putting in place are achieving our desired results,’’ she said.

‘’...Hillside has recruited, inducted and orientated (around 40) new nursing staff during the last three months and this has seen a dramatic decrease in agency nursing being used to care for the residents.

‘’An overall increase in staff numbers and weekend support including a senior registered nurse in charge has provided enhanced quality care delivery.’’

The spokeswoman said Hillside had been actively working with the quality agency to ensure compliance. Residents, families and other stakeholders were being kept up to date with the progress. 

Meantime the management of the Garrawarra Centre – which met 37 of the 44 expected outcomes – are also confident they will make the grade come November.

The quality agency’s report found that dementia patients at the Waterfall facility were not safe, were frequently subjected to assaults by other patients and had excessive force used against them.

However South Eastern Local Health District (SESLHD) chief executive Gerry Marr said the centre had a ‘’history of quality and safety’’, with the May audit raising issues that had not been identified before. Mr Marr said auditors had again visited the centre last week.

Damning findings: An audit in May identified an ‘’immediate and severe risk to the health, safety and well-being’’ of Garrawarra residents. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Damning findings: An audit in May identified an ‘’immediate and severe risk to the health, safety and well-being’’ of Garrawarra residents. Picture: Sylvia Liber

‘’SESLHD management and staff of the Garrawarra Centre are confident the required improvements have been made to achieve accreditation and we await the recommendations,’’ he said.

An Australian Aged Care Quality Agency spokeswoman said both Hillside and the Garrawarra Centre had been placed on a timetable for improvement following its findings of ‘’significant non-compliance’’ at these services.

She said a full re-accreditation audit had now been undertaken at both homes and a decision was pending.

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