Hands, aged care, seniors. oct 2018
Hands, aged care, seniors. oct 2018

Watchdog begins audit at Western Downs aged care home

Western Downs families who have loved ones at at-risk council run aged care facilities will soon have answers after the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission agreed to conduct an audit. 

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Ms Janet Anderson PSM said after deliberating an audit request from the council in February, the Commission began a week long audit at the Tarcoola Hostel.

“(The Commission) conducted a comprehensive unannounced site audit at Tarcoola Hostel residential aged care service in Tara during the week beginning 8 March 2021,” she said.

“This was part of the service’s application for re-accreditation.

“This site audit took into account information provided by its approved provider Western Downs Regional Council.”

Tarcoola Aged Care facility, Tara. Pic: Supplied
Tarcoola Aged Care facility, Tara. Pic: Supplied

Commissioner Anderson said once a decision was made on whether Tarcoola was meeting the Aged Care Quality Standards a performance report may be available in May 2021.

The WDRC issued a letter to residents’ families on Friday, February 26, detailing multiple failings at the Tarcoola nursing home, prompting community concerns for the health and safety of their most vulnerable family members.

“Council has recently identified systemic safety and quality issues at our Tarcoola Residential Aged Care that are of significant concern to council,” the letter read.

“Both age care facilities have long faced significant challenges in retaining quality and accredited staff.

“The ongoing problem is the product of several contributing factors and issues faced by the aged care and health industry broadly.”

The Commission hadn’t decided if the councils second aged care facility in Miles, Carinya Aged Persons Hostel, would be audited, despite the WDRC’s request.

“The Commission has sought additional information from the service about a recent audit request made by its approved provider WDRC,” Commissioner Anderson said.

“Should the Commission have concerns about the care and services provided at Carinya… the Commission will take a proportionate, risk-based approach in determining any regulatory response.”

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson. Pic: AAP Image/Kelly Barnes
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson. Pic: AAP Image/Kelly Barnes

The Commission carried out two onsite audits at Carinya since 2019, Commissioner Anderson said the most recent was an announced ‘spot check’ in September 2020.

“(It was) to observe infection control practices and ensure that staff, management and visitors are adhering to safe infection control arrangements,” she said.

An ACQSC report from February 10, 2021, states that after a month-long site audit at the Miles facility in June 2018, the Commission made the decision to re-accredit the aged care home as it had upheld the correct standards of care.

“The decision on the service’s accreditation period was varied following reconsideration on own initiative on 10 February 2021,” the document read.

“The period of accreditation of the service will expire on 20 September 2022.”

The Chinchilla News asked the council what issues had been flagged, and how long they had been aware of the “significant” safety issues, however council did not respond to the questions.

The council also declined to give assurances to the families who have entrusted loved ones to Tarcoola and Carinya that their elderly family members are in safe hands.

Any family members who are concerned about the care, or lack thereof, of their loved ones, Commissioner Anderson said they should contact the Commission here, or by calling 1800 951 822.


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