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Failings at an Alexandra rest-home have been highlighted in a damning audit report.

However, the aged-care facility’s owner says while “technically correct”, the report does not tell the whole story and the published document neglected feedback he had provided.

A surveillance audit of Castlewood Nursing Home, conducted by Technical Advisory Services Ltd in December last year, outlined deficiencies in four of six outcome areas of the health and disability standards.

The audit found Castlewood was lacking in areas of consumer rights, organisational management, continuum of service delivery and safe and appropriate environment.

In areas of restraint minimisation and safe practice, and infection prevention and control, Castlewood met the full requirements.

The audit outlined concerns regarding a lack of residents’ privacy due to no locks on communal toilets; confidential resident information computer and hard copy being locked or filed appropriately to prevent access by unauthorised persons; and wound dressing not being conducted in private.

While invoices and payroll were reviewed by a contracted accountant, auditors were advised some residents’ comfort funds were deposited into the owner’s bank account for disbursement.

The funds were then managed through a “petty cash” type manual record, a cash envelope with a large sum of cash and loosely filed receipts, the report stated.

Insufficient registered nurse coverage for safe resident care, staffing levels, not all required staff having first aid certificates and no board of directors or formal governance structure were regarded as high-risk areas by auditors.

While the day-to-day running of Castlewood was the responsibility of the facility manager, he did not have input into the development and maintenance of the duty roster, or the approval of time sheets, the report said.

Areas deemed to pose a moderate risk included inconsistent records being kept for controlled medications, expired medications not consistently returned to the pharmacy, clinical risk assessments not always being conducted by a suitably qualified health professional and an inside refrigerator being kept outside.

Castlewood owner John Diehl acknowledged the report outlined nine areas where Castlewood needed to take corrective actions.

Like many rest-homes across the country, Castlewood had issues recruiting and retaining staff, in particular registered nurses, he said.

Two registered nurses had moved on and he had notified the Southern District Health Board there was no registered nurse and he was trying to recruit, Mr Diehl said.

Shortly after there was a surprise audit, he said.

Staff moved on for various reasons and Covid-19 and the inability to recruit people from overseas made the situation worse, he said.

“To tell a home to hurry up and recruit [new staff] is not helpful,” Mr Diehl said.

However, a registered nurse was now employed for 40 hours a week and he maintained that while the situation was not ideal, the nursing home always had enough staffing cover as people worked overtime.

SDHB health of older people portfolio manager Sharon Adler said unannounced surveillance audits were required within three months either side of halfway through a rest-home’s certification period.

Castlewood was awarded a two-year certification from January 17, 2021, to January 16, 2023.

An unannounced surveillance audit was conducted at the rest-home on December 13 and 14 last year and there were nine findings from the audit.

Castlewood was required to supply evidence of completing four corrective actions by February 27, and the remaining actions were due late March and April.