More than 70 residents of an aged care home in the NSW Central West could be homeless within weeks, after the sector’s regulator told the facility it would not be re-accredited to operate.
- The Lithgow Aged Care Home has been told it will not be reaccredited by the industry regulator
- In December, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission found there was an “immediate and severe risk to the safety, health, or wellbeing of residents”
- After an unannounced visit in January, the Commission said compliance with standards had “significantly deteriorated”
The Lithgow Aged Care Home, which employs more than 120 staff to care for 73 residents, failed all but four measures in its most recent assessment by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
Its registration will expire in April.
About 50 members of the public and families of the home’s residents gathered on Monday to hear Lithgow Aged Care’s chair of the board, Stephen Lesslie, defend the facility and criticise the commission’s decision.
Among them was Bill Burns, a local whose mother died three weeks prior to the meeting.
He said the standard of care delivered at the home “wasn’t what they portrayed it to be” and amounted to “broken promises”.
Mr Burns called for change at the home so it could be “run right, run with dignity, run with care”.
Bronwyn Thompson said she had observed “systemic failures” at the home.
Her father is a resident there, while her mother died there last year.
“The staff are great but there’s just not enough of them,” Ms Thompson said.
Criticism of the facility was not universal.
Diane Writer, whose 93-year-old mother has lived at the home for five years, praised the “marvellous” and “caring” staff.
“I take my hat off to them,” Ms Writer said.
Western Sydney an option
If the facility closed, residents could be forced to move to other facilities including in Western Sydney or the nearby city of Bathurst.
Mr Burns said his experience of the home was poor but that it should remain open for the sake of the community.
“I don’t want to see this place close, where will these people go?” Mr Burns said.
‘Unjust’ decision to deregister
Mr Lesslie said the commission’s decision was “unjust” and “arbitrary”.
He accused the regulator of failing to “take into account the improvements that have been put in place” since the introduction of the new board in November.
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson said she believed the home “could not demonstrate the capacity to rectify the non-compliances” she had identified.
The commission said a review conducted in December found there was “an immediate and severe risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of residents”.
After conducting an unannounced inspection in January, the commission found compliance had since “significantly deteriorated”.
Ms Anderson said the provider had not met standards since August 2019 and it had not “demonstrated the capacity to rectify” the problems.
Mr Lesslie said the board would appeal the decision.
The commission is expected to release its report this week. Meanwhile, the Royal Commission for Aged Care Quality and Safety is expected to release its long-awaited final report by the end of the month.