Dementia patients at Garrawarra Centre are not safe, are frequently subjected to assaults by other patients and have excessive force used against them.
These are just a few of the damning findings outlined in a federal government agency report on the state-run aged care facility at Waterfall which is already under sanctions.
The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) report, released on its website on Monday, revealed that Garrawarra met just 37 of the 44 expected outcomes of the national accreditation standards.
While the centre is one of the few purpose-built, dementia-specific facilities in the state – one of those failures was in the important area of ‘behavioural management’.
‘’The home does not effectively manage the needs of care recipients with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia,’’ the report states.
‘’Trends in behaviour incidents are not monitored and responded to. Staff do not have the knowledge and skills to effectively respond to the needs of care recipients with aggressive behaviours.’’
The report went on to say that individualised behavioural care plans for residents with complex behaviours were not developed while incidents of aggression did not result in changes to care.
‘’Care recipients/ representatives report that care recipients are not safe and are subjected to assaults by other care recipients,’’ it stated.
Of concern in a facility run by NSW Health, the report also found that Garrawarra management did not comply with legislative requirements for mandatory reporting of abuse.
Meantime the residents’ right to privacy, dignity and confidentiality was neither recognised nor respected.
‘’Care recipients have been subjected to the use of excessive force,’’ the report stated. ‘’... (Their) information is not stored securely.’’
The living environment was also not up to standard, with the home not providing a ‘’safe and comfortable environment’’ with ‘’frequent incidents’’ of resident to resident assault.
The Federal Department of Health slapped sanctions on Garrawarra last month after an audit by AACQA in May identified an ‘’immediate and severe risk to the health, safety and well-being’’ of residents.
The facility will not be eligible for federal funding for six months, and stands to lose its approval as an aged care provider, if it does not meet all 44 standards by November 27.
The centre has a capacity of 120 beds – at the time of the AACQA audit 117 high-care recipients were in residence.
Privately owned aged care provider, Hillside at Figtree, is also under sanctions for six months after a recent audit.
Garrawarra’s working to meet standards
An administrator and clinical advisor have been appointed at Garrawarra Centre to get the facility back up to standard.
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District chief executive Gerry Marr said the appointments were among a number of measures put in place to ensure the facility regained its full accreditation status.
‘’SESLHD wants to assure the community that the care, comfort and support of residents of the Garrawarra Centre remains a priority for staff and management of the centre,’’ Mr Marr said.
‘’The Garrawarra Centre has achieved the standards set through the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency’s (AACQA) accreditation process in February 2014 and February 2017, with no areas of non-compliance found.
‘’We have concerns that the latest visit by the quality agency has raised issues that have not been identified before and we accept responsibility to ensure the care provided at the Garrawarra Centre is both safe and of the highest quality.’’
Mr Marr said management and staff would continue to work with AACQA to ‘’resolve these matters and ensure the required improvements are made to achieve accreditation’’.
The failure to comply with seven of 44 standards resulted from an unannounced visit by an AACQA team on May 6 and 9, followed by the agency’s full audit review from May 15-23.
A meeting of residents and families was held in June; the LHD also wrote to families urging them to make contact for more information.
According to the SESLHD website Garrawarra provides ‘’person centred high level care’’ for people with a primary diagnosis of dementia who exhibit challenging behaviours and ‘’cannot be accommodated in a mainstream nursing home’’.