Sanctions at Garrawarra due to health and safety concerns

On notice: Garrawarra Centre at Waterfall has six months to get up to scratch or it will lose its status as an aged care provider. Picture: Sylvia Liber

On notice: Garrawarra Centre at Waterfall has six months to get up to scratch or it will lose its status as an aged care provider. Picture: Sylvia Liber

A second Illawarra aged care facility has had sanctions slapped on it by the Federal Department of Health after failing to meet national standards.

Garrawarra Centre will not be eligible for federal funding for any new patients for six months after the department identified an ‘’immediate and severe risk to the health, safety and well-being’’ of residents.

The Waterfall facility also stands to lose its approval as an aged care provider unless an advisor, and an administrator, are appointed for the six-month period until November 27. Staff training must also be undertaken.

According to the health department, an assessment by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) uncovered serious concerns about behavioural management at the home.

An AACQA spokeswoman said a team had made an unannounced visit to Garrawarra on May 6 and 9, followed by a full audit review from May 15-23.

Run by NSW Health, the centre is one of the few purpose-built, dementia-specific facilities in the state – with a capacity of 120 beds. 

On Wednesday South Eastern Sydney Local Health District chief executive Gerry Marr moved to assure the community that the ‘’care, comfort and support’’ of residents remained a priority.

Mr Marr said the centre had met AACQA’s standards in February 2014 and February 2017; and said the local health district and Garrawarra staff would now work with the quality agency to make the required improvements. 

‘’We are confident that we will be able to regain our full accreditation status within a short period of time.’’

Mr Marr said many residents had dementia with complex care needs, requiring a high level of support.

‘’While we acknowledge the concerns raised (by the federal health department) about the need for improvement in the management of complex behaviours of some residents, we want to assure residents and families that the safety and well-being of all residents is our paramount concern.’’

Privately owned aged care provider, Hillside at Figtree, is also under sanctions for six months after a recent audit.

Hillside only met 26 of the 44 expected outcomes of the national accreditation standards and has until November to rectify the issues.

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