Kiama Council’s Blue Haven retirement home fails six of eight quality standards

A new report outlines detailed concerns about an elderly care facility owned by Kiama City Council, including staff being too busy to help residents use the toilet and shower or administer their medication.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s recent audit report listed Blue Haven’s Bonaira Residential Facility as non-compliant with six out of eight aged care quality standards.

These standards included personal and clinical care, ongoing assessment and planning with consumers, services and supports for daily living, feedback and complaints, human resources and organizational governance.

“Consumers described staff as ‘busy,’ ‘rushed,’ and said they couldn’t meet consumers’ personal care needs all the time in line with their preferences,” the report said.

“A named consumer reported that he did not receive hygienic care in line with his preferences, advised that he was required to use a bedpan due to a lack of staff to assist him to wash up and had to wait for a long time to be attended to.

“A representative further advised that their named consumer was not receiving showers daily in accordance with their preferences and, although raised with management, continued to receive sponge baths every other day.”

The report also says staff were observed wearing masks incorrectly and not using proper handwashing techniques.

Six of 12 residents interviewed said they were unhappy with the food and “inadequate staff to meet residents’ needs” was identified as a point of non-compliance.

Of the 42 criteria that made up the eight standards for quality care for the elderly, Bonaira was found to fail in 11 of them.

The property has been assessed as meeting the Consumer Dignity and Choice Standard as well as the Organization’s Service Environment Standard.

The commission re-accredited Bonaira until April 2025.

Improvements will be made, says Blue Haven

Blue Haven’s interim chief operating officer Joe Gaudiosi acknowledged there are issues that need to be addressed and said some changes are already underway.

Joe Gaudiosi was named general manager of Blue Haven five months ago.(Provided: Blue Haven)

He said one of the main issues was finding staff to provide the level of care required by standards of care for the elderly.

“The workforce challenges in the sector are enormous, and we are not spared them,” Mr. Gaudiosi said.

“We are licensed for 134 residents, but have limited the number to 115 to ensure resident services align with staffing resources.”

He also said that other issues raised in the audit report were also being addressed.

“We have certainly taken into account the issues that have been noted and some have already been resolved,” Mr Gaudiosi said.

“Others are progressing through our continuous improvement plan, which is integral to the due diligence and processes of an elder care provider.”

A bullet in the head of a woman
Jane Stroud took over as chief executive of the council last year.(Supplied by: Kiama Town Hall)

Improvement order issued

Kiama City Council also received an improvement order this week from Local Government Minister Wendy Tuckerman due to its financial situation.

A temporary advisor has been appointed to help the council get its finances under control.

That’s something the council’s chief executive, Jane Stroud, understands.

“I respect the minister’s decision. Local government is an instrument of the state, and we must relentlessly focus on only essential local government services and remain financially viable,” she said.

“We need to improve the business, address the items of the performance improvement order and keep our local government for the people of Kiama Local Government Authority.”

Mr Gaudiosi said the council’s financial situation has not impacted services in Bonaira.

“Financial issues relating to Kiama’s board generally have no direct effect on the quality of Blue Haven’s service,” said Mr. Gaudiosi.

As part of a financial overhaul, the council recently voted to sell Bonaira’s aged care business.

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