Govt's nursing home trial "a farce"

14 October, 2014

A new federal government trial to have quality checks abolished for nursing homes which have 'consistently demonstrated high levels of care' is a "farce" and puts the well-being of residents at risk, a health lobby group has said in a recent statement.

Outlined on the Department of Social Services website, the trial, called South Australian Innovation Hub, aims to come up with solutions to "reduce administrative burden for high performing providers and promote innovation". It was launched on 10 October with a group consisting of 10 aged care providers in South Australia.

As a direct result of less regulation, providers are expected to increase consumer engagement, inevitably benefitting older people and their families.

However Charmaine Crowe from the Combined Pensioners & Superannuants Association (CPSA) of NSW said at least three of the ten providers selected for the trial have failed accreditation standards and one has been criticised by the South Australian Coroner for 'lax and unsafe practices'.

Questionable conduct at chosen providers

Crowe said the trialled providers had failed a standards check in numerous areas including medication, staffing and pain management.

According to the Department of Health:

"How did these operators make the cut for a trial that effectively abolishes accreditation checks?" Crowe said.

"More importantly, how can the Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews think that abolishing quality audits is acceptable, given the litany of poor standards uncovered across the industry?

"Not a week goes by without some horror story of poor care hitting the headlines.

"Accreditation checks should be bolstered, not removed as this trial aims to do.

"This trial is a farce and places the health and wellbeing of vulnerable nursing home residents at risk.

"CPSA calls for a Royal Commission into aged care to investigate the widespread abuse and neglect of older people in our nursing homes."