Revealed: Shock failures from 61 NSW aged care homes
EXCLUSIVE: More than sixty nursing homes that failed to pass accreditation standards are still operating in NSW - including one where staff left residents in so much pain they contemplated suicide to end their agony.
Statistics obtained by The Daily Telegraph reveal the new aged care watchdog has uncovered a litany of complaints in just six months until June 20 this year showing a staggering number flunked basic measures of hygiene and care, including brushing their teeth and making them wait for toilet breaks.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission carried out spot checks at the homes amid complaints and found two residents admitted they contemplated suicide due to poor pain management by staff at Henry Kendall Aged Care home in Wyoming.
Some elderly people at the home - where only 11 of 44 expected care standards were met - were found slumped sleeping in chairs in the sitting room at night. Officers found no effective infection control plan yet the home was allowed to continue to operate until March when it must reapply for a licence.
"We identified two care recipients who expressed suicide ideation on relation to poor pain management," an April audit report states.
"Physical and sexual assaults have not been managed to minimise risk to others and impacts on emotional wellbeing."
NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association says the "shocking" levels of care delivered in many aged care facilities is often the result of chronic understaffing and called for strict accountability of the use of public funds.
"Sixty homes that have failed care standards this year alone in NSW is not a one off, it's shocking, it shows the aged care system is not working and there is no accountability for the use of public purse money," acting secretary Judith Kiejda said.
"Senior citizens who go into homes now are older and frailer and need more help - you can't rush them yet there's not enough staff to help."
Garden View Nursing Home in Merrylands was given an extra eight months to stay open until November this year, when it must reapply for its licence, and ordered to make improvements - despite flunking an overwhelming 34 care standards including unqualified staff leaving residents in unmonitored pain.
Residents unintentionally lost weight as a result of "inadequate" nourishment and hydration.
"The catering service does not have an understanding of how to meet the special dietary needs of care recipients," the report states.
Ashburn House Aged Care Facility failed five care standards at the 108-place in Gladesville.
"When (a representative) visits, the care recipient's teeth have often not been cleaned," a review of the home states.
"The representative said the care recipient signals by their behaviour they want to go to the toilet and staff say they 'will get to the care recipient but first they have to clean the dining tables and sweep the floor'".
Residents complained staff were unable to read anxious and agitated behaviours which signal they are thirsty, need to go to the toilet, or are cold but commission officers ruled to extend the home's licence for a year giving executives until June 5 to deliver a corrective plan.
The facilities manager refused to confirm whether it had met the deadline.
The 61 homes were subjected to unannounced inspections by the new commission since January, amid a backdrop of almost 4,000 assaults reported in Australian nursing homes in the last financial year.
The commission re-accredited the Australian Vietnamese Aged Care Services in Smithfield until April 2021, despite the 68-place home failing to report falls and failing clinical care, skin care and mobility, dexterity and rehabilitation care standards.
Commission officers reported in February that wound care and dressing regimes are not communicated to relevant staff and residents are not consistently reviewed by a medical officer, or physiotherapist, after suffering falls.
Facility manager Shirley Leong refused to reveal whether the home had met its May 6 deadline to improve.
"We don't not need to answer any questions or justify ourselves, everything is as it should be," she said.
Bupa issued an immediate apology on Sunday to residents and relatives of their homes in Ashfield and Dural after both failed inspections with executives promising extra nursing staff and reviewed care plans.
Staff at the Ashfield home did not store some medicines correctly and not all qualified to administer medication did so "safely" and "correctly" at the 70-place home in May, auditors found.
The Dural branch failed clinical care, nutrition and hydration, behavioural management and human resource management yet can remain open until March when it will need to apply for reaccreditation.
"Twenty per cent of care recipients said that staff do not explain things … and ten per cent that they can't talk to staff if sad or worried, and this was related to staff rushing," commission officers reported.
They also found monitoring residents after unwitnessed falls and episodes of clinical deterioration was not continuous and residents are not always given enough time or support to eat meals.
"We apologise to our residents and their relatives at Bupa Dural and Ashfield where we've not met their expectations," a Bupa spokesman said.
"We're already making improvements to address all issues, including appointing additional nursing staff, reviewing care plans and implementing comprehensive training for both clinical and care staff."
The aged care watchdog also found Eloura care home in Quirindi failed eight care standards including inadequate reporting of suspected elder abuse.
Estia Health Figtree in Wollongong did not have enough appropriately skilled staff to meet the needs of residents and provide clinical care.
Carino Care in Russell Lea failed 24 counts of care standards where residents have died in "pain and distress".
It has been allowed to continue to operate until its current licence expires in November.
Other homes under the spotlight include Dorothy Boyt in Malabar which failed clinical care standards and Uniting Mullauna Blacktown where medication management did not always include consultation with a doctor.
Managers at Garden View and Henry Kendall nursing homes were unavailable for comment at the time of going to print.