Feb 28, 2020

Nursing home sanctioned after failing all eight quality standards


An aged care facility in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, has been sanctioned until early April after failing all of the eight aged care quality standards.

Not-for-profit provider South Cross Care’s Tenison Swansea Residential Aged Care has been sanctioned until 3 April 2020 for failing elements of all eight of the new person-centred quality standards.

Southern Cross Care’s Chief Executive Officer, Helen Emmerson, told HelloCare, “We accept there are serious issues we need to address at Swansea and we are truly sorry for our shortcomings there.”

She said a number of steps have already been taken to improve the facility, including employing a new manager, ensuring an RN is on site 24 hours a day, and increasing supplies available to residents.

She said residents have responded “positively” to the “long-term” changes.

Home posed “immediate and severe risk”

Following a review audit days before Christmas in 2019, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission decided on 29 January 2020 not to revoke the accreditation of the facility, but it varied the facility’s period of accreditation, and accreditation will now only apply until 29 July 2020.

Sanctions were applied on 3 January after the commission deemed the home posed an “immediate and severe risk” to the safety, health or well-being of residents.

Conditions of the sanctions include not being able to accept any new residents for three months, and having to appoint a nurse advisor and deliver training to staff at the operator’s own expense.

Tenison Swansea also failed to meet quality standards in October 2018.

Staff shortages, lack of continence aids

Tenison Swansea’s ‘Performance Report’ noted that residents who spoke to assessors said there were not enough supplies such as continence aids which “impacted on consumers’ dignity”.

Residents also said there is “not a lot to do” at the facility. The report says outings previously taken on buses no longer took place.

The assessor wrote, “I am not satisfied that consumers dignity is preserved, including appropriate pain management, emotional support and provision of adequate supplies such as continence aids, tissue papers and bed linen.

“Consumers have had to sleep on towels and have been left in soiled continence aids,” they wrote.

Residents and their loved ones sometimes resorted to buying supplies themselves.

Assessors wrote that residents and their loved ones said there were “inadequate staff numbers”, which sometimes contributed to residents not feeling safe.

Management also did not listen to concerns about residents’ care and well-being, according to the report.

“The service is not safe and clean, nor well-maintained and comfortable,” the report states, noting “odours”, the absence of procedures for night time lock up, nor a layout unsuitable for residents living with dementia.

The commission said it is continuing to monitor the facility.

“We are truly sorry”

Ms Emmerson told HelloCare a number of steps have already been taken to improve the facility.

“The previous Facility Manager at Swansea is no longer employed, and a replacement manager is in place.”

“We have reviewed and increased the quantities and frequency of supply and equipment deliveries.”

“Staffing levels have been reviewed to ensure we consistently meet resident care needs.

“We have also increased our Registered Nurse coverage to 24-hours.

“In addition, retraining is occurring in identified areas.”

So far, the response to the changes has been “positive”, Ms Emmerson said.

“Our staff are committed, loyal and focused.”

“Our residents have been supportive and open and honest with their feedback,” Ms Emmerton said.


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  1. Perhaps the managers performance was substandard but I am much more inclined to believe they are a scapegoat for a company, who, like aged care providers in general, have adopted a system of 3 continence aids in 24 hours and grossly inadequate staffing levels.

  2. My mother was a resident of Southern Cross St Josephs Tweed Heads for over three years. She suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. She was given Risperidone without our knowledge or consent every day for 10 months, without the facility following their own protocols. This cruel form of restraint was used because Mum suffered from sundowners and the facility could not manage her as they did not have any diversion measures in place. Mum went missing twice from the facility, the first time walking nearly a kilometre away. Her care plans were incorrect, and her medical files contained other residents information and/or incorrect information, the list goes on. She was diagnosed with Coeliac disease in 1986 and was on a gluten free diet. They decided to take her off her gluten free diet as Mum should have “choices”. Her choice, before Alzheimers was to eat a gluten free diet religiously. It is extremely detrimental to her physical and mental health to be removed from her diet. I know that Mum is NOT incontinent, and her care plan had this box ticked, is this not fraudulent ? The excuses have to stop and allow them to continue to live their lives with respect, dignity and the proper medical care in which they deserve. Stop blaming the care staff, and start at the top. Sorry is just not enough!


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