The shameful events that occurred at the Oakden nursing home rightly sent shock waves throughout the community.
But we are fooling ourselves if we think such appalling mistreatment of our most vulnerable isn’t happening today – or will continue to do so in the future.
The severe compliance outcomes of the Oakden aged care service – and the severity of the issues identified – not only shocked the community, but also the industry, quality and compliance agencies and governments across the country.
It exposed the risks that occur (including to human life) when the gap between governance and compliance – the pure lack of skills and knowledge at all levels of management from the board room to the ward room – goes unchecked.
Oakden is not an isolated case in failing compliance outcomes.
There have been – and will continue to be – facilities that fail to meet compliance outcomes to a far greater degree unless we recognize the failings of the accreditation monitoring system.
Currently across Australia there are 32 facilities with notices of non-compliance and five facilities issued with sanctions– this clearly demonstrates my point!
In SA, there are 11 facilities listed as non-compliant.
I have long believed that the process of compliance monitoring does not come close to identifying the risks to a client’s health and wellbeing, nor the quality of skills and knowledge of the staff who care for our elderly at governance level in sufficient numbers to meet their purpose.
Having worked in the industry for more than 40 years, I can state unequivocally that it is the failure of those private owners, Boards, CEOs and executive managers who fail to understand and question the standards of care being delivered in their name, and the lack of governance systems in place to provide the answers, that are to blame for predicaments like which occurred at Oaken.
All too often we see the wrong people with the wrong skill sets undertaking roles that they are not trained to undertake.
It is time to set higher levels of training requirements for our care workers – Certificate 3 is not good enough, nor are the academic levels that we accept for our carers.
It is time to have more robust examination of the skills and actual clinical outcomes achieved by our registered and enrolled nurses.
Failure to do so will again be at the peril of the most vulnerable in our community.
ACMA operates as an independent nurse advisory service specializing in compliance
Peter Vincent is a 40 year veteran of the aged care sector and in Principal Consultant of Aged Care Management Australia. Contact 0403 949 006 firstname.lastname@example.org