The Federal Department of Health has imposed sanctions on Hillside at Figtree due to ‘’serious concerns’’ about residents’ safety, health and well-being.
An assessment team from the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency identified the concerns during a visit to the aged care provider in mid April, according to a letter received by residents and relatives late last week.
As a result, the letter from the health department stated that a number of sanctions had been imposed on Hillside for the next six months.
Firstly, the provider has been warned that its approval as a provider of aged care services will be revoked unless an advisor is appointed for that period.
That approval will also be cancelled if training is not provided to staff responsible for the delivery of care and services.
Hillside will also not be eligible for funding for any new residents for the six months.
‘’Under the Aged Care Act 1997, aged care homes must meet certain standards of care and services and be accredited by (the Quality Agency) in order to receive (department funding),’’ the letter stated.
‘’Between (April 11-13), while visiting Hillside at Figtree to review the standards of care and services at the home, an assessment team from the Quality Agency identified some serious concerns regarding the safety, health and well-being of residents.’’
A meeting has been arranged between the provider, and residents and their representatives, on Wednesday afternoon at Hillside.
Hillside director Maurice Tulich said management and staff were working to address the ‘’process and protocol shortfalls’’ highlighted in the Quality Agency review.
“Our residents and their care has always been our number one priority,’’ he said. ‘’We are gravely disappointed that we have not met the standards determined by the (agency) nor our own expectations and we have acted swiftly to address all matters without delay.’’
Mr Tulich said a nurse advisor, Fleur Hannen, had been engaged, while staff were receiving ongoing training.
However the son of a long-term resident, who did not wish to be named, told the Mercury he ‘’wasn’t at all surprised’’ by the sanctions.
‘’I’ve had concerns from day one,’’ he said. ‘’They’re meant to have a nurse on call 24/7, yet it can take two or more hours for my mother to get assistance after ringing the bell.
‘’At meetings, many residents have raised similar concerns about staffing levels, about the level of care, and about the standard of food. But it’s always brushed aside. I’m hoping this will change all that.’’
The health department and the Quality Agency will continue to monitor Hillside.