A Glen Innes nursing home failed to meet official standards at an inspection late last year, according to the agency which inspects homes for old people in NSW.
Assessors from the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency voiced concern about the inadequacy of pain relief for residents of Roseneath Aged Care Centre, particularly in their last days. The inspectors' report said that the home had failed to make the grade in 17 out of 44 standards stipulated by the government.
The people who own and run the home said problems were temporary and had since been corrected.
The chairwoman of the board and part-owner of Roseneath, Denise McOnie, said problems had since been put right and a second, later inspection had cleared the place of failing to reach required standards. Staff shortages and a shortage of doctors in Glen Innes, she said, had led to problems which had since been solved.
“In the last three months, we’ve turned everything round," McOnie said. "The residents are very well cared for."
The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency which conducted both inspections said that the result of the latest inspection would be available in May. The agency accredits homes as fit to receive government subsidy.
The first report was damning. It included concerns that dying residents were not given adequate treatment.
On the care of dying residents, the report said bluntly that the failure caused "a lack of comfort and dignity being provided at the end of their lives".
And on pain relief, it said: "The home does not have an effective system to ensure all care recipients are as free as possible from pain”.
After the first, damning inspection, the assessors had warned the home: "We will continue to monitor the performance of the home including through unannounced visits.”
On specific areas, the initial inspectors’ report was blistering.
The report said: “The home is unable to demonstrate there are appropriately skilled staff in sufficient numbers to meet the health and lifestyle needs of care recipients.
It added: "Care recipients state they wait long periods for assistance" and "staff state they are unable to complete their duties due to inadequate staffing levels."
The report continued: "Management are not able to demonstrate care recipients receive appropriate clinical care.
But it's on pain relief, particularity for dying people that the report is toughest.
The report said: "Management cannot demonstrate the comfort and dignity of terminally ill care recipients is maintained, including for families and those involved in their care."
It added that the lack of palliation (drugs or treatment to ease pain at the end of life) "resulted in the care recipients not being supported in the relief of their pain and other symptoms, causing a lack of comfort and dignity being provided at the end of their lives."