Bupa’s ninth aged care home sanctioned in 12 months over ‘severe risk’ to residents

Posted January 12, 2019 10:15:19

Another Bupa aged care home has been sanctioned over what the Department of Health identified as a “severe risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of care recipients”.

Bupa Aged Care Eden will be unable to accept any new residents or receive Commonwealth funding for a period of six months as a result of the latest sanction.

The facility is the ninth Bupa aged care home currently sanctioned for failing to meet compliance benchmarks set out by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.

The agency identified several issues at Bupa’s Eden home, relating to medication management, clinical care, staffing and human resources, and behaviour management.

And it was a similar story across the eight other Bupa homes currently sanctioned.

Cathy Zanella’s mother-in-law lives at the Bupa aged care home in Traralgon — another site currently sanctioned.

The centre made headlines late last year after a picture of a resident’s dinner went viral online.

The image of scrambled eggs – described by one person online as looking like “mouldy cheese” prompted fierce debate on social media about the quality of food served to aged care residents.

Ms Zanella was so concerned about the treatment her relative was receiving at the Traralgon Bupa Aged Care home in Victoria, she set up the Facebook group Aged Care Matters for the families of residents.

She said at the Traralgon facility “the food has deteriorated terribly… really badly” and described it as “unfathomable”.

‘Nothing is changing’, says relative

Ms Zanella said the problems stemmed from the very top of the business that it “didn’t seem to care because nothing is changing. They refuse to see that their model, their ‘Bupa way’, doesn’t work.”

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She said there were not enough staff in the centres, nor enough well-trained staff.

Former Merimbula resident Judy Reed agreed.

Both of her parents spent years living at Bupa Aged Care Eden, and her mother died there from pneumonia in 2016.

She said the care they received was appalling and they encountered a new problem every day, related to their food, toileting, showering, medication or staff.

“My mother would sit on the toilet and the staff would say ‘I’ll come back soon’ and an hour and a half later they would come back, and she would still be sitting on the toilet. She couldn’t walk.”

“I wouldn’t put my dog in there.”

‘No accountability’, says nurses association

The acting secretary of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association Judith Kiejda said the whole system needed a major overhaul.

“You really wonder what they are doing with the 72 per cent of money that they get from the public purse. There’s no accountability for this money,” Ms Kiejda said.

“The government needs to make the providers accountable for how they spend the public money they receive.”

And she said the community could not afford to wait until the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, announced in October, were released.

“Quite frankly, a Royal Commission, by the time it gets up and running and the decisions are made, you’re looking at two years before anything will start to be implemented. We’ve got a problem now.”

Bupa aged care homes currently sanctioned:

Eden, Traralgon, Seaforth, Woodend, South Hobart, Berry, Berwick, Calwell, Griffith

Bupa Aged Care homes currently non-compliant:

Traralgon, Eden, Pottsville Beach, North Rocks, Dural, Stirling, Seaforth, Woodend

Bupa Aged Care homes issued with non-compliance notices in 2018:

Cairns, Mosman, Bateau Bay, St Ives, Runaway Bay, Tumut, Bonbeach, Maroubra, Coburg, Croydon, Templestowe

More accountability needed, says Senate committee

A recent Senate inquiry heard allegations that aged care providers, including Bupa, were engaging in tax avoidance and tax minimisation — allegations that were fiercely rejected by the companies and in a dissenting report from Coalition committee members.

In November, the Senate Economics References Committee tabled its report into Financial and Tax Practices of For-Profit Aged Care Providers.

The inquiry was unable to determine whether or not for-profit providers were engaging in improper tax or financial practices, but recommended that the sector be subjected to more rigorous transparency and reporting requirements.

The committee said in its report it was concerned that some for-profit aged care providers were able to use current accounting standards to obscure public scrutiny of their financial activities.

Bupa’s response:

Bupa takes the Department of Health’s sanctions and non-compliance notices extremely seriously, and we are very sorry this has happened.

This situation is unacceptable and our focus in resolving these matters is based upon placing residents and their families as our number one priority. We have brought in an independent consumer expert to engage with relatives and will continue to conduct face-to-face meetings at each of the affected homes.

Issues raised from the sanctions are being addressed locally for the individual needs of specific homes. We have accepted the findings of the Department and will not shy away from the responsibility that comes with fixing this situation and improving the standard of care.

Bupa has also created a new consumer advocacy and engagement role to ensure the voice of our residents and families is heard on an ongoing basis. We encourage any residents or family members with concerns to contact us on 1800 804 888, email bupaagedcarefeedback@bupa.com.au or Bupa Australia’s Speak Up Hotline 1800 479 241.

Topics: aged-care, royal-commissions, health, health-policy, bega-2550, traralgon-3844, templestowe-3106, croydon-2132, coburg-3058, maroubra-2035, bonbeach-3196, tumut-2720, runaway-bay-4216, st-ives-2075, bateau-bay-2261, mosman-2088, cairns-4870, dural-2158, north-rocks-2151, pottsville-beach-2489, griffith-2680, calwell-2905, berwick-3806, berry-2535, south-hobart-7004, woodend-3442, seaforth-2092, eden-2551

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