Broken promises over retirement homes

By Soma Tah, BBC News Mr and Mrs P decided to open their home in Giddings, New South Wales, Australia, because it was becoming harder to close Nursing homes hope fewer doors will be…

Broken promises over retirement homes

By Soma Tah, BBC News

Mr and Mrs P decided to open their home in Giddings, New South Wales, Australia, because it was becoming harder to close

Nursing homes hope fewer doors will be closed and doors opened so more families are able to visit relatives – but are reviews into the topic proving the fears of doctors wrong? They say a long-term review needs to be carried out and updated to balance the interests of both the patients and staff of nursing homes. Ginns Grove is one such nursing home in Perth which currently accepts a wide range of medical staff and visitors. But last month, that changed, with the arrival of 25 medical specialists, and plans for a similar move in another Perth nursing home. It is planned the aged care home will eventually host in excess of 1,000 visitors a day. As a result, receptionist Penelope Kemp has had to pack her bags and go. Health care She says that had she not gone it would have been difficult for her staff to respond to the demands of such a range of visitors. Ms Kemp’s father-in-law managed to contact the facilities but the influx has meant he does not feel safe and secure. Last Wednesday, Dr Antony Ward, the executive director of Perth’s aged care regulator, the Aged Care Quality Agency, visited Ginns Grove. He was listening to mothers explain to their teenagers the notion of losing Grandma or grandpa – moving away will be like losing a parent

Dr Antony Ward He explained he was concerned that not enough thought was given by the management to the impact the change would have on the residents, health professionals and their families. And he is critical of those aged care staff at the centre who have denied his office access to any planned discussion of their plans for the future of their nursing home. ‘Kidnapped elderly’ Dr Ward told BBC News that he does not believe an improved balance between the lives of patients and staff needs to be thoroughly reviewed, but added that the situation at Ginns Grove was not exceptional. “I think it is very tough for somebody in authority, in any situation like this, to intervene on behalf of somebody whose livelihood is jeopardised,” he said. “I understand that most of the staff will feel that what they are doing is the right thing, but it is also a little bit naive. “They are not aware of the fact that this is a very unique situation,” he said. “To bring a seven-member paediatric nurse team from an absolute close distance can have some impacts on the nurse,” he said. “I am not saying it is incompatible, but it does seem to me that if we don’t start looking at it differently as a regulator, in a really holistic way, then this is likely to happen in a lot of places.” “This is not the sort of situation in which we want to be bringing the adult health care into conflict with someone’s emotional and physical wellbeing. “Personally, I do think this is hostage to fortune. “I would rather that not happen and be completely honest with people about it, rather than be caught out somewhere in the middle.” ‘Dramatic transition’ Dr Ward has already written to Perth’s nursing homes demanding they explain exactly how the situation at Ginns Grove has played out and how they plan to manage the alterations. Families that felt threatened by Ginns Grove asked for an official review. More than 30 per cent of residents at Giddings received all but two drugs. Some people are not at risk now but that situation could change and expose more vulnerable residents to the risk of infection

Dr Antony Ward “I have sent letters to a number of nursing homes in Perth in the last few days, many of which are in the middle of this crisis, saying that we should look very carefully and understand exactly what happened and consider how to avoid it happening in the future. “We have to decide what is best for all of the people who live in these care homes – the residents, the families, the staff and the health care professionals – and that must include their emotional and physical wellbeing. “I will not tolerate the position where any health care or social care or aged care provider does not take into account the interests of those people. “I have started a very dramatic transition in terms of the number of people we are looking at and the number of people we are willing to admit into these aged care homes. “I have the power to do that.” About 70 per cent of those residents had potentially harmful levels of drugs such as antidepressants and sedatives during 2008. More than 30 per cent had life-limiting conditions, and some people are not at risk now but that situation could change and expose more vulnerable residents to the risk of infection. “That is probably going to be

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