Sep 17, 2019

Aged care advocate to visit Bupa nursing homes

The advocate whose efforts ultimately led to the royal commission has been told he can visit Bupa nursing homes.

On Monday, aged care advocate Stewart Johnston flew to Melbourne to meet with senior Bupa management, including Managing Director, Suzanne Dvorak, and Director of Corporate Affairs, Roger Sharp.

According to Bupa, at the meeting it was agreed that Mr Johnston could visit Bupa aged care facilities.

Mr Johnston became an aged care advocate after his mother suffered horrifying sub-standard care while at Adelaide’s not notorious Oakden aged care facility.

“We have made improvements”: Bupa

In a statement to HelloCare, a Bupa spokesperson confirmed the meeting took place with Mr Johnston.

“We are always keen to listen to those who have experience in the aged care sector and appreciated the opportunity to listen to his ideas,” the spokesperson said.

“We have made improvements across a number of our homes, and remain committed to ensuring all our care homes meet the standards.”

The “best way” to conduct visits still being considered

The spokesperson said Mr Johnston will be given the opportunity to visit Bupa facilities along with the managing director.

“We told Stewart that he is welcome (to) visit some of our care homes with Suzanne Dvorak, Managing Director of Bupa Aged Care, and we are discussing the best way to do this.”

Bupa did not confirm media reports it will conduct “surprise visits” to its aged care facilities to “find out the truth” of what is happening in the homes.

Pads not rationed

At the meeting with Mr Johnston, it was stated that Bupa does not ration continence pads.

Last week, reports by the media, including the ABC, claimed Bupa restricted continence aids to three pads per day.

“We told Stewart that Bupa has never had a company policy of restricting continence pads,” the spokesperson told HelloCare.

Bupa received nearly half a billion dollars worth of government funding last financial year, yet the company has been plagued with reports of poor care, failed quality audits, and abuse.

Last week on the ABC’s 7.30 program, Leigh Sales interviewed Bupa’s new CEO Hisham El-Ansary, who was only appointed earlier this year.

In the interview, Mr El-Ansary apologised for the poor care and said “we are capable of much better”.

“The instances of care (shown in the preceding report) are unacceptable and I want to unreservedly apologise to those residents and their families,” he said.

HelloCare reached out to Mr Johnston for a comment for this article, but at the time of publishing had not yet received a response.


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  1. I’m sorry, what are Mr Johnston’s qualifications and what is expected from his visiting facilities?
    Residential aged care and the required documentation is a highly technical and professional nightmare barely achievable by very qualified registered nurses and even they are struggling with the ever increasing and diverse interpretation of the standards. What possibly can Mr Johnston bring to the table?

    This is a publicity stunt that does nothing to address the serious issues in nursing homes across Australia.
    As the government body Acfa recently confirmed half of residential facilities are going broke and people going broke and unable to pay the bills make poor decisions. Let’s concentrate on getting people to our facilities that can get the ear of our reluctant government to address the well documented financial crisis rather than someone that has minimal and possibly biased opinions on his one unfortunate experience.


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