TriCare Toowoomba infection control failings laid bare in report
TriCare Toowoomba has found itself in the spotlight in recent months over allegations of poor care and understaffing.
Complaints prompted the ACQSC to conduct an unannounced audit of the facility on August 5, which saw it deemed non-compliant with one of the Aged Care Quality and Safety standards.
At the time, the facility was also found to be chemically restraining residents without consent.
The ACQSC returned just over a week later and assessed the facility’s infection control measures.
It found TriCare had “not implemented an effective infection control program” and “the Outbreak Management Plan COVID-19 is not being implemented at the service”.
Commission officers found pre-entry screening processes were inconsistent and not effective, personal protective equipment was not being used appropriately, and while management stated they were monitoring staff practice, officers found “this is not effective”.
“Whilst staff education in relation to infection control (and specifically COVID-19) has been conducted, this has not been effective.”
The commission also found the facility’s outbreak management plan was not site specific and was incomplete “in a number of areas”.
Their report also said TriCare management “were unable to articulate how a surge workforce would be operationalised in the event of an outbreak”.
Lists identifying which staff worked across different sites were incomplete, the report also said.
The commission’s assessment team also discovered there was no supply of face shields at the service during their time there, and the service used cloth masks but staff could not provide consistent information about laundering practices or when they should be worn.
“The assessment team observed multiple instances of staff wearing cloth and surgical masks inappropriately, soiled masks were observed to be worn by staff, masks were worn under staff members’ chins or pulled down to speak to consumers”.
Meanwhile, duties lists had not been updated to reflect an increased need for cleaning of high touch surfaces, nor did cleaning staff have a “shared understanding of the frequency of high touch surface cleaning”.
“There are no processes for cleaning of shared equipment such as computers and keyboards between usage.”
In response to the commission’s findings, TriCare immediately made a number of improvements and committed “to a number of actions to ensure the service has an effective infection control program”.
“These actions will require time to be implemented and evaluated for their effectiveness,” the report said.
“The approved provider’s monitoring processes had not identified the deficiencies noted by the assessment team.”
TriCare was contacted for comment.
Originally published as TriCare Toowoomba infection control failings laid bare in report