Aged care centre counts costs after failing audit
STRINGENT new aged care regulations and COVID-19 measures are taking a heavy financial toll on a small high-care centre in Gordonvale.
Pyramid Residential Care Centre (PRCC) has been forced to implement a costly suite of changes after it failed a government audit earlier this year.
It is now budgeting for a $660,000 loss, half due to the new rules and half credited to the cost of responding to the coronavirus threat.
"Our auditors talked to us at length yesterday and basically said they consider us a going concern, and they consider us a going concern for the next 12 months," PRCC chairman Paul Gregory said.
"There was concern from residents and families about whether we would be able to survive financially.
"Financially we are suffering, like everybody else in the industry, but we are in a position where they don't have to worry about us walking away from the business.
"Their relatives, their nannas are going to be OK."
The 52-bed establishment at Gordonvale was one of nine Queensland nursing homes to fail an Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission probe this year.
Mr Gregory said it was a strange situation.
The centre went from passing every industry standard with flying colours to failing the lot, almost overnight.
The costs of overhauling the business are coming home to roost, as it is for much of the aged care industry.
Staffing costs have increased dramatically, but one of the biggest tolls came down to technology.
"We were transitioning from a paper-based clinical care platform to digital," Mr Gregory said.
"There are really significant costs to that.
"After using the new system and talking to the commission, we found out the system wasn't fit for purpose.
"So we had to buy another one and retrain."
Mr Gregory said the industry desperately needed guaranteed, benchmarked funding to allow operators to properly budget for the future. "The government has to do something. They can't just let it fail," he said.
PRCC has not been audited since January but Mr Gregory was confident it would pass the next review.
COVID-19 means assessors are still blocked from entry.
"The safety of our residents is the highest concern for us, and we have taken every bit of advice they've given us," he said.
Originally published as Aged care centre counts costs after failing audit