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A Victorian family company which operated a nursing home where understaffing and appalling standards of care were found. This did not prevent it from being granted more nursing home licenses.
Armitage Manor and others
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The McKenzie Aged Care Group was founded by the McKenzie family in Victoria in about 1998. It operates in Victoria, Northern NSW and Queensland.
It has the dubious distinction of operating a nursing home which was involved in a scandal about standards of care comparable to the Riverside scandal.
In spite of this 2003 scandal it was allowed to build and operate new nursing homes in 2004 and now operates 5 homes. Its probity and problems in care were apparently not an issue for regulators. One wonders if there was any communication between accreditation authorities and the licensing authority.
The one thing which would act as a serious deterrent to excessive commercialism and cost cutting is a major commercial consequence like future licence rejection for a period of years. This is something which would not disrupt lives - like the closure of a nursing home does.
Australian and family-owned, McKenzie Aged Care Group is dedicated to providing quality service and personalised care.
Sep 2006 Web page introduction
For us, quality of life means exactly what it says.
Our elegant, purpose-built facilities make it easy for our residents to live the kind of life that meets their individual needs.
McKenzie Aged care Group web site - accessed September 11, 2006
At the heart of the problem in this nursing home is the issue of staffing and particularly of senior staff. A strong pointer to an excessive commercial focus on cost cutting is a rapid turnover of staff particularly senior staff. They see the consequences when they are required to reduce staff or skimp on supplies and will not be associated with this. The place gets a reputation and people who care do not apply. The company, desperate for staff, employs the dregs.
The department's state manager, Maree Bowman, confirmed the Dandenong Rd hostel had been forced to appoint a nursing adviser after investigators noted residents were losing weight.
Oct 2003 Appointing a nursing adviser
"It was considered that the home did not have adequate processes in place to monitor weight loss and to ensure residents' nutrition and hydration needs were met," she (Bowman) said.
Nursing home rapped Herald-Sun October 8, 2003
Armitage Manor in Windsor has been labelled the worst aged care centre since the notorious Riverside nursing home, where residents were given kerosene-laced baths to prevent the spread of infection.
Oct 2003 Worst since Riverside
A report by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency, obtained by the Herald Sun, found Armitage Manor failed to meet 25 of the 44 accreditation standards set by the Federal Government.
- The catalogue of neglect included:
- A BLIND resident whose medication was left on their bedside table.
- RESIDENTS with mouth ulcers from poor dental hygiene.
- NURSING staff unable to hear residents' buzzers because they were working in the laundry.
- TERMINALLY ill patients whose dying requests were ignored.
- A LACK of extra nutrition for residents who had chronic weight loss, including one resident who had lost 4kg since December 2002 and weighed just 46kg.
- A RESIDENT who was not given crucial eye drops after cataract surgery.
Despite the failure to meet less than half the basic licensing criteria, the federal government agency found there were not sufficient grounds to shut the hostel down.
While residents lived in squalor and were poorly fed from a kitchen that did not meet hygiene standards, the report also found that staff were stretched to the limit.
The Armitage Manor roster allocates just one staff member overnight to care for 60 residents.
The hostel, run by the McKenzie Aged Care Group, has had eight changes in management since it opened in September 2001 and the report found that basic paperwork was more than 12 months behind.
In many cases, the health of residents was jeopardised because management did not keep medical charts in order.
Health Workers Union secretary Geoff Jackson said the report highlighted one of the worst examples of aged care neglect he had seen.
25 aged-care standards failed Outrage at squalor in hostel Herald-Sun October 14, 2003
Instead of being penalised and restricted to protect the elderly this company which operated one of the worst of the worst is rewarded with licenses for several new homes. One wonders if the dearth of real information about the Melbourne owners is a clue to this. The company web site indicates that this is a family business. Sally and Mary-Ann McKenzie are directors but there is no mention of Keith or Annette.
THE McKenzie Aged Care Group, which is developing facilities at Burleigh Waters, has parted company with an aged care centre it developed and operated at Coolangatta.
Mar 2004 Owns four homes and is developing more
The Victoria-based company has cut ties with Kirribilli, a 91-bed facility, selling the holding in a $5.886 million deal.
The company has been in business for six years and operates four aged-care centres, two in Victoria, one in Tweed Heads and another at Kirra on the Gold Coast.
The Burleigh Waters centre is one of two new aged-care facilities planned by the group which is also developing a 75-bed low-care facility at Murwillumbah.
Company executive Rob Hutchinson said the projects at Murwillumbah and Burleigh Waters were part of an expansion plan that would see the McKenzie Aged Care Group establish additional facilities in northern NSW and southeast Queensland.
Aged-care centre for Burleigh The Gold Coast Bulletin March 5, 2004
At Burleigh, the McKenzie group, linked to Keith and Annette McKenzie, is developing a two-level facility, Sandbrook, which will house about 120 people and have high-care and low-care components.
Feb 2005 New development in Queensland
Kirribilli centre sold for $5.88m The Gold Coast Bulletin February 18, 2005
A 2004/5 government funding list shows McKenzie listed as running Armitage Manor (VIC), Sutton Park (VIC) and Raffles Assisted Aged Care (Tweed Heads NSW) The home in Kirra is not listed so may have been closed.
Sandown Lodge at Burley Heads opened in April 2006. Heritage Lodge opened in Murwillumbah on 4th September 2006.
The Mackenzie web page is at http://www.mckenzieacg.com/
For Updates:- A good way to check for recent developments in aged care is to go to the aged care crisis group's search page and enter the name of the company, nursing home or key words relating to any other matter in the search box. Most significant press reports are flagged there. The aged care crisis web site has recently been restructured and some of the older links used from this site may not work.
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This page created Sept 2006 by Michael Wynne