When a facility fails its accreditation, it goes beyond them failing to meet standards or complete a checklist of what a facility needs. It even goes beyond legalities and correct business practice.

When an aged care facility fails their accreditation, they’re actually putting elderly people’s lives at risk.

Pioneer Lodge in Bundaberg officially failed its audit as published in a report by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency in late February.

Of the 44 quality standards that must be met, the aged care facility failed 13 of them, including clinical care, medication, pain management and nutrition.

Despite this, the facility it has been reported that they continued to cut staff – with a number of nurses being laid off just months before the inspection.

This was a huge concern to the families of people living in the facility, and earlier today the daughter of one resident spoke out to ABC’s 7.30.

Two months after the initial inspection in December, Pioneer lodge resident Joyce Davies died from sepsis, which is a serious blood infection caused by bacteria, which is also known as “blood poisoning”.

Joyce’s daughter, Janice, believed that it was because of the poor quality of care that led to her mother’s early passing.

Sepsis is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated quickly, and it is believed that the staff at Bundaberg failed to identify the condition.

“I think part of my frustration is that I continually told them to watch her, to be careful,” Janice said.

Pioneer Lodge were warned that Janice was at risk of infection leading to sepsis, with a written care plan provided to them.

“I thought, these people just aren’t getting it…I don’t think they could put it all together, which really frustrated me because to me it was basic nursing knowledge”.

Joyce’s death came as a shock to the family when they had been told, just mere weeks earlier, that conditions would improve after the Aged Care Quality Agency’s visit.

“It was just a premature death that did not need to happen yet,” Janice said.

“I’m so angry with them for what they’ve done or what they didn’t do. She didn’t need to die like that.”

“If my mother was a child where would we be today with this?”

“If they did it to her as a child or if she was an animal…we [would] end up in court real quick but it’s okay to do it to elderly people and get away with it.”

Blue Care Apologises

Though Pioneer Lodge has said they “refute any suggestion that the actions of Blue Care Pioneer staff contributed to [Joyce’s] death”, they have apologised for issues in their quality of care after their failure to meet standards in a letter to their local GPs.

“The AACQA has granted Blue Care a three-month timetable for improvement to rectify the issues at our Pioneer facility,” the letter read.

The letter also acknowledged that issues with staff were being dealt with –  “it is clear that several staff members were not fulfilling their duties in accordance with our standards and expectations”.

A spokesperson for Blue Care has made it clear that the providers have learnt from their mistakes and were attempting to make amends and improvements.  

The Bundaberg facility had  “very well progressed, with recent feedback from residents, their families and the AACQA continuing to be positive”.

“Blue Care senior management and staff have been working closely with external advisers to implement numerous improvements to systems, processes and practices at Pioneer, including the engagement of a senior industry nurse adviser to be based at the facility who has been supporting the delivery of enhanced training to staff”.

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