Nov 23, 2021

Sydney aged care home reaccredited despite administering out-of-date medication

Sydney aged care home reaccredited despite administering out-of-date medication

An aged care home in the northern suburbs of Sydney failed to meet several quality and safety standards, including staff shortages and administering out-of-date medication to residents, but has been reaccredited for another two years.

In an assessment conducted between 19 May and 27 May this year, the home in Sydney’s Northbridge was found to have failed five aged care quality standards including personal and clinical care, human resources and organisational governance. 

However, on 6 August 2021, the home was accredited until 6 August 2023.

The home also failed quality assessments in 2019.

The assessors identified “poor and unsafe staff practices in relation to medication management.”

In response to the finding, the provider acknowledged the “oversight”, noting that in one case the medication was not actually administered, and in another the recipient did not have any adverse outcomes as a result. 

The provider told the regulator it had taken action since the assessment to ensure medication is safely managed, and expired medication is identified and not administered. 

Assessments found gaps in the planning for several consumers. One consumer who displayed interfering behaviours and disturbed sleep patterns did not have a behaviour assessment or behaviour chart completed until after an incident had already occurred.

The assessors found the service did not demonstrate effective infection control practices and that the service’s lifestyle activity program was limited and not effective for the individuals living at the home.

Residents and families told assessors that agency staff at the home did not know the residents or their needs.

One resident told the assessors that they would like to go outside to enjoy the gardens, but had not been helped to achieve this simple goal. 

Residents who were identified as having low emotional and psychological well-being, did not have strategies in place to promote their well-being.

The assessors observed that the workforce was not always managing to complete all their tasks effectively and that staff were not always competent in their roles.

One resident said staff are slow to respond to call bells.

Another resident said agency staff don’t receive the necessary oversight from registered nurses “due to time constraints.”

The assessors noted high use of agency staff usage in the month before the assessment, and that insufficient staffing may have contributed to inadequate supervision and assistance with meals, resulting in a resident choking.

The assessors observed broken paving outside the home, poor waste management practices, such as overflowing bins, and clinical waste bins found unlocked.

In response to the inspection, the provider said changes have been made following the audit including adding additional shifts, changes in leadership, improving maintenance, improved cleaning, increased training, and they had taken steps to minimise the risks associated with the behaviour of residents.

The provider told the assessor that the home’s lifestyle coordinator had only been in the role for two weeks at the time of the assessment and was still in training at the time. 

They conceded that recent changes in management and having long-term staff on leave had presented challenges. Agency staff are only used as a “last resort” and the service only uses one agency as a means to provide continuity of agency staff, they told the assessors. 

Since the choking incident, the provider said more staff have been put on shifts, and a night shift has been added.

According to The Daily Telegraph, this home is one of 93 in NSW to have been found non-compliant with aged care quality standards since 1 July this year.

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  1. Two points here, one is that there is a lack of appropriate professional staff to oversea medications, The excuses they gave do not hold water, agency or no agency (they get blamed for everything) medications must be checked each time so how come no one did this? 2, what’s the point of all these checks if there are no sanctions, I have seen cases where the assessors have been unnecessarily draconian but medications is not an area for error.

  2. The problem is almost as old as the residents.
    If the Regulator really enforced Standards then a lot of RACF’s would close. Or would they ?
    This is the Regulator again being bluffed into submission by the Aged Care lobby.

    Yes, the problem can be solved. But it will take a Government with a sense of responsibilty, and a Minister who is tough enough to do the job.

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