An Alice Springs elderly care home has been sanctioned for posing an "immediate and serious danger" to residents but is still permitted to operate.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) sanctioned the operator of the Old Timers Aged Care Service in Alice Springs for failing to provide care in accordance with the Aged Care Quality Standards.
It follows a site examination performed by the commission at the plant located south of The Gap in the middle of last month.
The ACQSC stated in a statement that during the site inspection, the Commission found non-compliance with five of the 42 criteria of the Aged Care Quality Standards.
On July 30, Australian Regional and Remote Community Services Limited (ARRCS) received a penalty for noncompliance, which will expire in six months.
The commission said on myagedcare.gov.au's Notices of Non-compliance, Notices to Agree, and Sanctions in Old Timers that it recognised that there is an urgent and serious danger to the safety, health, or well-being of care receivers.
The noncompliance concerns include Standards 3 — Personal and clinical care, Standard 7 — Human resources, and Standard 8 — Organizational governance.
Commonwealth subsidies have ceased
As part of the punishment, Old Timers will be ineligible for Commonwealth funding for new care users for the next six months.
ARRCS spokesman stated that they will not accept new residents to Old Timers until the penalties are removed.
ARRCS was also subjected to a variety of requirements in addition to the penalty issued by the commission.
The commission said in a statement that including requirements to appoint an independent adviser to ensure the safety and well-being of Old Timers residents; provide training to its staff; and provide regular updates and reports to the commission on its progress in addressing and rectifying all areas where noncompliance was identified.
If a service is determined to be non-compliant and cannot show that it has made or is making progress toward implementing the necessary changes, the commission may take additional regulatory action, such as modifying the accreditation period or withdrawing authorized provider status.
ARRCS said that it moved quickly and aggressively to make the necessary changes to guarantee the excellent quality of aged care that they aspire to offer.
ARRCS added that they are collaborating openly and honestly with the ACQSC, and they have hired an onsite external adviser to guarantee that all remedial measures are completed.
ARRCS later stated that they deeply regret these results and apologize to Old Timers residents and their families, whose expectations they are committed not just to fulfill but to surpass.
They said that the changes included, but were not limited to, clinical and care practices, staff training, systems and procedures, and resident and family consultation.
'There is a lot of pressure on the hospital.'
The Council of the Ageing in the Northern Territory described the situation as regrettable.
Sue Shearer, chief executive said that this will place a lot of strain on the hospital because if they're on a level-four package, that's where they'll probably go.
She predicted that individuals seeking elderly care will have to wait much longer.
Ms. Shearer added that the federal government has issued a large number of packages. However, they haven’t seen it yet.
Robyn Lambley, the local Member for Araluen, announced the penalty on social media over the weekend after a letter addressed to locals and their families was sent to her office.
She described the news as "extremely worrisome," but she did not want to put more strain on ARRCS.
Ms. Lambley added that they need to see things turn around fast.
She said that she’d like to believe that we, as a community, can assist Old Timers in resolving their issues.