Aug 30, 2019

Two government nursing homes fail 21 standards 


Two adjoining aged care facilities run by the South Australian government have had their accreditation slashed by a year after failing to meet almost half the expected quality outcomes in a June audit.

The failings come in the middle of a royal commission into the Australian aged care sector which was triggered by catastrophic inadequacies at Oaken nursing home, another facility that was run by the South Australian government.

Failed to meet 21 of 44 quality standards

Bonney Lodge and Hawdon House, which adjoin Riverland General Hospital in Barmera, South Australia, were audited by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission in June this year. 

Both failed 21 of 44 of the expected quality outcomes, including in the areas of staff education, complaints handling, clinical care, medication management, pain management, nutrition and hydration, behaviour management, living environment, and emotional support.

Both facilities will remain open, but have had their accreditation period slashed by a year. Accreditation will now only be accredited until 2 August 2020. Before the audit, both homes were accredited until 23 September 2021.

During the assessment, residents said staff do not effectively manage their pain and they are not satisfied with the clinical care they receive. 

The assessors found clinical care is not always appropriately assessed, documented or managed. “Clinical staff interviewed do not have the skills and knowledge to complete clinical assessment and reviews,” both reports say.


A statement from SA Health said Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network is taking “immediate action” to address the concerns identified by the Quality Commission. 

Riverland Mallee Coorong LHN Chief Executive Officer, Wayne Champion, said he was disappointed with the findings.

“We are disappointed that the service has not met the required standards, and have acted immediately to minimise any risk to the safety and wellbeing of our residents,” he said.

“We welcome the Commonwealth’s scrutiny to help us ensure that we are providing the best possible service to our residents,” Mr Champion said.

“Riverland Mallee Coorong LHN is acting immediately to make changes to ensure the quality of care at Bonney Lodge and Hawdon House Nursing Homes is up to the standard our residents and the public expect.”

Needs to improve

Mr Champion outlined the areas at each home that need the greatest attention.

“As part of the review, the Quality Commission identified that Bonney Lodge needs to improve documentation and adherence to procedures around a range of care outcomes, including our residents’ condition management, pain management, wound care and nutrition.

“They also found some management systems and staff development needed to be reviewed to ensure our staff have the skills to perform their roles effectively.

“The ACQSC highlighted that Hawdon House needs to review its staff development and training, and like Bonney Lodge, also needs to improve adherence to procedures around a range of care outcomes,” he said.

Extra staff appointed

Riverland Mallee Coorong LHN has established a specific regional Aged Care Director of Nursing role for the whole network and appointed an additional Nurse Unit Manager role to strengthen services on the ground in Barmera.

“A specialist Nurse Advisor has also commenced to strengthen the quality of care provided in Barmera, along with additional locum nursing staff that boost clinical staffing levels and help with the documentation of residents’ care needs,” Mr Champion said.

“We are developing a detailed plan for continuous improvement, addressing the issues identified by the ACQSC, and clinical reviews of individual aged care residents are being undertaken in order to ensure the care they are receiving meets their specific clinical needs.”

Mr Champion said all residents at both Bonney Lodge and Hawdon House and their families had been made aware of the audit findings.

“We will be holding a meeting with residents and their families to work through the details of the report and talk through any concerns they might have,” he said.

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