An Adelaide nursing home has been sanctioned by the Department of Health, after a review found it was not using chemical and physical restraints appropriately.

An audit by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency found that North Eastern Community Nursing Home met only 38 of the required 44 quality standards.

According to the audit, the nursing home did not have effective wounds management processes, was unclean, restricted access to outdoor areas, and was not appropriately lit.

“Severe risk” warning

A further review by the Department of Health found that only one standard was not being met, and consequently imposed sanctions on the nursing home. The department declared the reasons for the sanction were that the nursing home posed an “immediate and severe risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of care recipients at the service”.

The department’s concerns focused on the nursing home’s behaviour management procedures.

The AACQA found the nursing home was using chemical and physical restraints without trying alternative behaviour management strategies.

Sanctions imposed

The sanctions mean that North Eastern Community Nursing Home will not receive Commonwealth subsidies for six months, and must retrain staff and employ an adviser to help turn the operations around.

North Eastern Community Hospital CEO, Michele Smith, told HelloCare, “The welfare of care recipients is the first priority of the North Eastern Community Nursing Home.”

The nursing home has held two information evenings for families to talk through the matters identified in the AACQA audit.

“NECNH held two information sessions with families of residents following the release of the audit report last month, to discuss the findings and fully communicate what NECNH is doing to address issues identified in the audit.

Resident’s behaviour has been assessed, and new measures have been introduced to reduce the need for restraints. External clinical advisors have been appointed to help the nursing home navigate the changes required by the agency.

“In the four weeks since the release of the report NECNH has begun the behavioural reassessment of all residents and has engaged experienced, external clinical advisors to assist in meeting the requirements of the agency. NECNH has also ordered new low-to-ground beds to reduce the need for bed rails, and additional alarmed safety mats next to beds, to alert staff when high-risk residents are mobilising. These measures are all designed to help us implement a restraint-free environment at NECNH.”

“Making good progress”: CEO

Ms Smith said the nursing home is making “good progress” in addressing the matters raised by the AACQA.

“NECNH values the dedication of its staff and is working hard to provide additional training as quickly as possible. We are also working positively with the agency and are making good progress through our clinical advisors towards addressing the issues raised in the audit report.”

Sanctions on the rise

Peter Vincent, Director of Aged Care Management Australia, a consultancy that helps sanctioned nursing homes turn their operations around, told HelloCare there has been a pick up in the number of nursing homes being sanctioned as the government takes a tougher approach.

“There is a significant increase in the number of facilities showing as non compliant and sanctioned. This is clearly because the agency have been instructed to be more aggressive,” he said.

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