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Shorty O’Neil Village ‘not up to scratch’

Friday, 20th June, 2014

By Craig Brealey

The Federal Government has imposed sanctions on Shorty O’Neil Village after it was found to have not met the standards required for aged care.

City Council, which runs the Village, had already announced that it would close it within two years because it was unable to meet the government’s new, higher standards under the Aged Care Act.

The government’s sanctions showed that Council’s decision was right, Council’s General Manager Therese Manns said yesterday. 

The Federal Department of Social Services provides funding to aged care homes which must meet certain standards of care and service to be accredited by the Aged Care Quality Agency.

These standards must be maintained in order to keep the funding.

This month an assessment team from the Quality Agency came to the city for nine days to conduct a review and found “some serious concerns regarding the safety, health and wellbeing of residents,” according to a letter from the Department that was received yesterday by a man whose aunt lives in the Village.

The sanctions mean that Council will not get funding for any new residents at the Village for six months, and Council’s approval as an aged care provider will be revoked unless it appoints an advisor for those six months.

Approval will also be revoked unless training is provided to staff whose duties include the organisation and delivery of care and services at the Village, said the letter.

Ms Manns said that Council was working with the Aged Care Quality Agency to implement the changes, including the engagement of a nurse advisor and a Registered Nurse Clinical Consultant.

“I have talked with residents about the audit and a formal meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 25, for all residents and families, to discuss the process for implementing the recommended changes,” she said.

Ms Manns said that the issues raised in the audit were not linked to Council’s decision to change staffing arrangements from July 1 or to close the facility in March 2016. 

“This is not a reflection on Council’s decision to close the facility, rather it reinforces that Council is no longer in a position to meet the high expectations set out by the changing nature of residential care. 

“I was disappointed and concerned with the audit report. We are certainly committed to implementing the changes to ensure residents are receiving the best care and support.

“We are also working with Aged and Community Services NSW & ACT.”

Ms Manns said that she also raised the audit report, during her visit to Canberra this week, with representatives of the office of the Assistant Minister for Social Services. 

“The representatives were supportive of our approach to be proactive with required changes and acknowledged our challenging circumstances.

“It is always our intention to provide the best care possible for our residents.”

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