Sanctions have been imposed on a Bupa nursing home in regional Victoria, after a surprise audit found it failed to meet quality standards and the Department of Health deemed it to be an “immediate and severe risk” to residents.

The sanctions mean the nursing home won’t receive Commonwealth funding for new residents for six months, it must appoint an adviser and an administrator, and it must provide staff with specialised training.

An unannounced audit by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency found the nursing home failed to meet quality standards for human resources management, medication management, pain management, and living environment.

A review by the Department of Health found Bupa Traralgon posed “an immediate and severe risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of care recipients”, and sanctions were imposed from 27 July 2018.

Bupa apologises to residents and families

In a statement to HelloCare, Bupa was apologetic.

“Bupa has apologised to Bupa Traralgon residents and families following sanctions being placed on the home by the Department of Health,” the statement said.

Maureen Berry, Chief Operating Officer of Bupa Villages & Aged Care, said, “Bupa apologises unreservedly to Bupa Traralgon residents and their families and is committed to resolving issues at the home, which do not reflect our standards. These issues are unacceptable.”

The company has taken “immediate action” in addressing the issues raised, Ms Berry said.

According to the My Aged Care website, Bupa Traralgon appointed an administrator on 2 August 2018 and an adviser on 7 August 2018, and a residents and representatives meeting was held on 10 August 2018.

“We are making the necessary improvements and changes at Bupa Traralgon. We have appointed a new General Manager and are hiring additional Registered Nurses and carers. We are also working with the Department of Health and have an Operations Manager on site. External advisors have been appointed to review our approach.

“We make it our priority to provide a safe and supportive environment for our residents and we accept the Department’s findings that in this case there have been failings.

“We are keeping residents and their families informed as we progress.”

Ms Berry encourages anyone with concerns about Bupa Traralgon to come forward.

“We encourage anyone with concerns to contact us on 1300 302 350 or email support@bupacare.com.au,” she said.

Both the Department and the Quality Agency will closely monitor Bupa Traralgon over the next six months.

Bupa Australia is the local arm of a global healthcare organisation. In Australia, the company offers health insurance, and operates more than 70 aged care facilities around the country, housing nearly 7,000 residents.

Going forward…

When sanctions are imposed on a nursing home, it is a major concern for all involved.

For residents, sanctions can be deeply worrying and unsettling. Staff may feel let down by management. And families, who have chosen the nursing home as the place where their loved one will live and be cared for, are likely to feel gravely concerned.

But it is extremely important that any failures to meet aged care quality standards are identified – as quickly as possible – and promptly fixed.

We can only hope that the changes implemented within Bupa Traralgon, the audit process, and the guidance of AACQA and the Department, will result in lasting improvements that will be to the benefit of all involved.

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