Victorian nursing home forced to close its doors

A non-compliant private nursing home has chosen to permanently close its doors and transfer all its residents elsewhere.

A private 35-bed nursing home in suburban Melbourne has had to transfer all of its residents to alternative locations, following a decision to permanently shut down the facility on Saturday 12 June.

St Benedict’s Private Nursing Home, Sandringham, decided to close its doors after an audit, conducted by Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency in March, found that the facility was non-compliant.

A spokesperson from the nursing home said that St Benedict’s failed the audit because its former director of nursing did not do the necessary paper work. She said that the employee went on sick leave and never returned, placing the facility in hot water.

“It was not because we were not looking after the residents,” the spokesperson said.

“It’s just that the paper trail had too many gaps in it because the director of nursing had not been looking after the quality of the system. The care has never been a risk to the health of residents. The residents have always been well looked after.”

The facility was due for reaccreditation this June following a report issued in September 2009, which stated that even though St Benedict’s had passed 44 of the 44 standards, it would be denied the usual three year accreditation period.

She said that the resident transfer took 10 days and went “very smoothly. The residents took it very well. It is only the staff and relatives that were disappointed.”

The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) has raised concern about the livelihood of St Benedict’s staff, now that the facility is closing. 

The organisation worries thattheir nurses and personal care workers may lose salary entitlements and compulsory superannuation payments worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. ANF has met with members to determine the amount each nurse and personal care worker is owed.

“ANF is extremely concerned that a private company in the business of making a profit has received millions of taxpayer dollars to care for elderly Victorians and looks like it can’t pay salaries let alone its accrued staff entitlements and superannuation payments,” said ANF (Victorian Branch) assistant secretary, Paul Gilbert.

“Aged care facilities must be accountable to the federal government Department of Health and Ageing for how millions of taxpayer dollars are spent to ensure residents are properly cared for and the people who work in nursing homes are properly paid.”

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