General News

20 January, 2023

Star ratings for aged care homes

THREE of the four aged care homes on the Tablelands have rated well in the Federal Government’s new star rating system introduced in December in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

By Robyn Holmes

The outdoor area of the newly opened wellness centre at Carinya Home
The outdoor area of the newly opened wellness centre at Carinya Home

The new ratings system in-volves the assessment of the quality of care at all government-funded aged care homes based on four key areas of performance – Quality Measures, Compliance, Residents’ Experience and Staffing.

The ratings will be assessed regularly to enable people to have as much up-to-date information as possible before they choose a facility for their loved one.

Carinya Home of the Aged and Ozcare Malanda faired best, with four stars each indicating a “good” result while Mt Kooyong Convalescent Home in Julatten managed three stars (“acceptable”).

Mareeba’s Blue Care aged care facility scored the lowest, with just two stars, indicating “improvement needed”. This comes on the back of the home failing every aged care standard during a Federal Government commission audit last year.

The Carinya facility, which celebrated its 50th year of operation in 2022, has plenty to celebrate at the moment, with the home enhanced by the recent opening of a new Wellness Centre which provides residents with a gymnasium, arts room and a large recreational space that caters to activities such as singing and dancing, morning teas, bingo, visits from schools, and even mini golf.

Despite revelations last week that 70 per cent of aged care homes in Australia were operating at a loss, Carinya appears to have a successful model that has allowed the home to continue to expand services and the facility itself.

In addition to the new Wellness Centre, the Enid Collins Lodge was constructed around six years ago which caters to 45 residents out of the 131 now accommodated at the home.

CEO David Osborne said the introduction of the star ratings system gave people an opportunity to compare providers based on the four measures used to strike the rating but over time, the data would become more useful as trends became clearer.

It also would allow providers to respond to areas of concern that have been identified.

“For Carinya, the star ratings work in sync with maintaining our reputation for providing quality care to our local com-munity,” he said.

“Carinya has an active continuous improvement program to ensure we review our provision of care regularly and this assists in identifying areas where extra resources or innovative practices can be used.”

Mr Osborne said staffing was a critical factor in the provision of quality care and meeting the requirements of care minutes per patient was going to be a challenge in the short term given the availability of registered nurses.

“Active recruitment as well as mentoring nursing students and graduates in an extremely constrained market will assist in the longer term to address this shortfall,” he said.

“The need and demand for registered nurses in all sectors of health care underlines that we do have an ageing population and the level of care required is increasing.

“Recruitment in all areas continues to be a challenge as in many other industries. We are very fortunate to have such as positive and committed work-force that work hard to ensure our residents are well cared for.”

Mr Osborne said Carinya was committed to providing quality care with compassion and dignity.

“Our team are fit for pur-pose and live the values of this care with all of our residents – above all they enjoy providing this care in a safe and respectful manner,” he said.

“The older members of our community are not invisible and we must ensure they are treated with the respect they deserve.”

Ozcare Malanda and Mt Kooyong Convalescent Home opted to make no comment on the new rating system


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