Hillside at Figtree still not up to scratch: health department

Not up to scratch: Hillside at Figtree will now be under sanctions for nearly 12 months after continued failure to comply with national standards. Picture: Robert Peet
Not up to scratch: Hillside at Figtree will now be under sanctions for nearly 12 months after continued failure to comply with national standards. Picture: Robert Peet

Hillside at Figtree has been slapped with sanctions for a further six months after failing to correct some serious concerns about residents’ health and safety.

In April the Federal Department of Health imposed an initial six months of sanctions on the aged care facility, after a visit by a quality agency revealed it had failed 18 out of 44 national standards of care.

Some of the failures identified in the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) audit were in relation to the management of pain and medication; nutrition and hydration; skin care and continence.

A department spokesperson this week confirmed that Hillside remained ‘’non-compliant’’ with four standards and so sanctions had been extended until March 29, 2018.

According to the department’s My Aged Care website the reasons for the additional sanctions included ongoing issues with ‘’human resource management’’ and with residents’ ‘’privacy and dignity’’.

Under the sanctions, the allocation of a number of places at the facility have been suspended.

Residents and their representatives were given an update at a meeting on Monday. According to a family member present, Hillside director Richard Clifford said that management was ‘’trying really hard’’ to make the grade. However the relative said that management offered no apologies for the ongoing failures.

Another relative who contacted the Mercury after the meeting said she’d ‘’lost complete faith’’ in management. ‘’This is a facility that advertises itself as the most exclusive aged care residence in the region,’’ she said.

‘’But the chandeliers, the grand piano, the sweeping views are all a veneer – underneath that there’s the cracks.

‘’You put your mum or dad in the hands of people who are supposed to be trained to do the job .. and they’re not doing that job correctly.’’

The resident said she was concerned about the standard of care, with ongoing issues with the management of her mother’s medication.

‘’For instance mum has had to have two operations cancelled because staff didn’t follow instructions about taking her off medication,’’ she said.

A Hillside spokesperson said the facility continued to work towards compliance.

‘’Management and staff are continuing to work diligently towards delivering the standards determined by the AACQA for the quality care of our residents,’’ the spokesperson said. ‘’We have met the majority of our goals and are continuing to progress with the small number of remaining items.

‘’We have engaged closely with the agency and department to ensure the adaptations we make to our systems will produce long-standing results.’’