Aged Care Updates
Updated 10 January 2020
At Bupa, we’re dedicated to continuously improving the quality of care and standards of living for our aged care residents.
Across the majority of our 72 Australian nursing homes, things are working well, and we’re meeting the standards set out by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
However, on occasions we haven’t gotten things right, and we’ve let people down. For this we are sorry, and we’re acting to fix this.
We are listening to residents and their families and acting on their feedback, and are investing millions of dollars to provide better care for our residents, including:
- Stronger clinical oversight
- Improved staff training
- Enhanced internal auditing
- Implementing a new management structure with better support for the General Managers of our homes
- Revamping our complaint management processes to ensure customer feedback is captured, acknowledged and actioned
- Improving the food in our homes by providing greater choices.
Fixing some of these issues takes time and we’re making good progress. The majority of the aged care homes that had compliance issues have been re-accredited and are in line with the new national quality standards.
Bupa cares for around 6,500 residents, and we have 9,000 dedicated employees who come to work every day wanting to make a difference. Our employees genuinely care for the residents in their care. We are conscious that our residents don’t live in our workplace, rather our employees work in their home.
1. How many of Bupa’s aged care homes are currently under sanction?
The overwhelming majority of our 72 aged care homes are meeting the quality standards. However, we currently have 4 Australian care homes under sanction.
- Roseville, New South Wales
- Seaforth, New South Wales
- Tumut, New South Wales
- Tamworth, New South Wales
We’ve made significant progress in addressing many of the issues that led to these sanctions. While even one home on sanction is too many, we have reduced this number from a total of 15 during 2019.
We remain committed to addressing any issues and want to restore confidence in our homes as soon as possible.
2. What does it mean for a home to be under sanction?
Sanctions are imposed by the Department of Health on aged care providers where the Department believes the care or provided is not in compliance with the set aged care standards.
A range of sanctions can be imposed on an aged care provider including restricting approval to provide aged care services (effectively meaning no new residents come into the home while sanctions are in place). The type of sanctions imposed on an approved provider will depend on the nature of the non-compliance.
We take sanction notices extremely seriously and are working closely with the Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to ensure all our homes meet the high standard of care our residents deserve and the public rightly expects.
To find out more about sanctions in aged care and how they work, you can visit the Department of Health - Ageing and Aged Care website.
3. What actions are you taking to fix these problems?
We recognise that each of our homes has unique needs, depending the local community, what is important to our residents, as well as what may have been identified as lacking by the Department of Health and / or the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
We’re working closely with families and residents, as well as Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, to gather feedback and are acting to implement their suggestions.
We’ve also been reviewing our rosters to ensure staffing levels meet resident needs; investing in employee training; redesigning medication management; improving lifestyle programs and food, nutrition and other services such as cleaning and catering.
We have new leadership – our Bupa CEO commenced in April 2019 and the Managing Director of the Aged Care business commenced in June 2019 and they have already begun to turn around the business operations.
To find out more about some of the positive things we’re doing in our aged care homes you can visit our Newsroom.
4. How is Bupa improving the food in aged care homes?
We know how important food and meal times can be for our residents.
Our meals are prepared by chefs and the daily menus are designed to give residents choice of a range of enjoyable and nutritious meals.
We also serve specially made soft meals for those residents who, for clinical reasons, need it. We work hard to accommodate additional dietary preferences.
We’re always looking at ways to enhance meal options for our residents and routinely seek resident feedback on how we can improve food in our homes.
We have plans to send many of our chefs through the Maggie Beer Foundation’s ‘Creating an Appetite for Life’ Masterclass for aged care chefs. So far 10% of our chefs have completed the course.
We accept that, on some occasions, meals have been served which were not up to standard. We’re determined to learn from this and are committed to addressing our residents’ concerns.
5. Does Bupa put profits over care?
No. Our primary commitment is to the health and care of our residents.
We’ve invested millions of dollars in our aged care business in recent years to help address areas of poor performance. This has been spent on additional staffing, training, resources and improvements to the physical environment of our homes, and we’re continuing to work hard to put things right.
6. What is Bupa's reaction to the Royal Commission into Aged Care?
We welcome the Royal Commission into Aged Care. It provides a valuable opportunity to improve how we do things as an organisation, and across all parts of the aged care sector.
Australia’s aged care sector faces complex challenges, and we must ensure it is sustainable well into the future; the Royal Commission gives us a chance to explore this.
For more about the Royal Commission and our response, you can visit our Newsroom.
7. Will you need to put my health insurance premiums up to fix your aged care problems?
No, our aged care operations are separate to our health insurance business.
Private health insurance premiums are approved by the Australian Government and any increases reflect the cost of health care and higher claims.