Audit doesn’t add up

Ira Parker Nursing Home’s brilliant record slumps following shock report

LAST week’s revelations the Ira Parker Nursing Home in Balaklava had failed in 19 of 44 assessable standards completely masked over the facility’s previously near perfect record.

Across four Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) audits between 2009 and as recently as February 2018, Ira Parker had met 42 of 44 standards twice, and all 44 of 44 in the remaining two.

The most recent audit followed a fire at the site on February 5.

A resident lost their life in that particular incident, although it was yet to be determined whether the fire or a pre-existing health issue was the cause.

The State Coroner is investigating the matter.

Under aged care accreditation guidelines, any major incidents must be reported to the ACQSC.

Auditors from the ACQSC made an unannounced visit to the Ira Parker facility on February 10 and conducted an initial audit, followed by an in-depth review between February 24-27.

The Balaklava facility, attached to the War Memorial Hospital, is run and managed by Country Health SA (CHSA), the largest provider of aged care in regional South Australia.

State Health Minister, Stephen Wade, said the State Government had commissioned its own independent external clinical audit of CHSA’s aged care facilities, with the final local sites to be completed this month.

He said Ira Parker has been audited in this process too, with some issues outlined but he did not indicate whether this audit matched the results found by the ACQSC.

The independent clinical audit of Ira Parker was also unannounced and occurred between the two ASQSC audits.

When asked how a site can go from being near perfect to missing almost half the standards within 12 months, Mr Wade said he could not comment on the Commonwealth agency’s protocols but he approved of heightened

“You can appreciate following the Royal Commission into Aged Care that there has been an increase in scrutiny and we welcome the zero tolerance approach,” Mr Wade said.

“The local team was disappointed not to have met required standards but the commitment shown by staff to address the outstanding issues has been very good.

“I have no reason to believe Ira Parker was not correctly structured with regard to staffing ratios.

“In terms of the issues raised, CHSA is confident the issues can be addressed in a reasonable time frame.”

Amongst the list of failed standards were several surrounding the physical environment of the site.

Mr Wade said a report from advisers would list corrective action to address the infrastructure issues.

“I certainly expect part of the report will list all required investment on site improvements,” he said.

CHSA interim CEO, Rebecca Graham, said all residents at the 22-bed nursing home and their families had been made aware of the audit findings.

“We understand that residents and families may be concerned, but we are committed to ensuring they are kept up-to-date at every step as we implement appropriate procedures and practices to rectify the issues,” she said.

Through the ACQSC, the Commonwealth Department of Health has imposed two sanctions on the Ira Parker Nursing Home, which may be in effect until September 21, 2019, or until the accreditation issues have been rectified.

The sanctions include restricting the payment of the Commonwealth aged care subsidy for new residents at Ira Parker Nursing Home, and revoking the aged care provider status unless evidence of improvement is made within six months.

Ira Parker Nursing Home will remain open while CHSA works to comply with the sanctions and put in place the necessary improvements.

“We immediately hired a Senior Nurse Consultant and Director of Nursing – Aged Care after receiving the ACQSC audit report, and these staff will remain in their roles until all of the issues have been resolved,” Mrs Graham said.

“We have also engaged an adviser with extensive aged care and accreditation experience to focus on clinical issues, as well as an administrator to focus on resourcing, staff training, management systems and governance issues.”