This year’s safety swoop has already tagged 36 homes as high-risk, compared to 22 last financial year and just two the year before.
This year’s safety swoop has already tagged 36 homes as high-risk, compared to 22 last financial year and just two the year before.

‘Serious risk’: Nursing homes singled out

A SAFETY swoop on nursing homes has exposed dozens deemed a "serious risk'' to the health or safety of elderly residents.

Damning new data from the Aged Care Quality Agency (ACQA), obtained by The Courier Mail yesterday, reveals that 36 homes - about one in 70 - have been flagged as a "serious risk'' to residents during 2017/18.

And 165 homes - or one in 16 - failed government quality audits.

Two nursing homes in NSW were so risky that the Health Department shut them down - Yagoona Nursing Home, and the Ritz Nursing Home in Leura.

Six Queensland homes were singled out as a serious risk, requiring ongoing inspections.

This year's safety swoop has already tagged 36 homes as high-risk, compared to 22 last financial year and just two the year before.

And disturbing new health data reveals that 10 per cent of nursing home residents were sent to hospital with broken bones, severe bruising or head injuries from falls in 2014/15.

New data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that 22,873 residents who fell over in aged-care facilities were sent to hospital - including 6764 with head injuries and 4011 with hip fractures.

Falls in aged-care homes grew by more than 4 per cent every year over a decade.

The Queensland nursing homes labelled "serious risk'' by the aged-care regulator include Carinity Fairfield Grange in Townsville, where police are probing the suspicious deaths of Charlotte Paluszak and four other residents.

Blue Care Pioneer in Bundaberg, which ACQA inspectors criticised over poor pain management, and Northview Aged Care Centre in Mackay also remain on the "serious risk'' list.

Forest Lake Lodge in Brisbane's south was deemed a "serious risk'' in November but passed an audit in February.

Two homes run by Queensland Health - Cooinda House in Redcliffe and the Dr E A F McDonald Nursing Home in Oakey - were assessed as a "serious risk' last July but passed follow-up audits in November.

Detailed reasons for imposing a "serious risk'' finding are kept secret from the public.

But an ACQA spokeswoman said the agency would monitor the homes through unannounced visits.

"Serious risk is a decision made at a point of time - it is not an ongoing state,'' she said.

"A home is given details of why the Quality Agency has made a finding of serious risk in order to take urgent action to rectify the area of poor care.

"A timetable is set and in most cases, homes demonstrate they have addressed the identified issues.''

Aged Care Crisis spokeswoman Lynda Saltarelli called on the Federal Government to set safe staffing ratios for nursing homes.

"The competitive pressure for profit has seen the uncontrolled erosion of staff numbers and skills to levels well below international standards,'' she said.



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