Inspection uncovers unsanitary conditions, deficient staff training at central Alberta long-term care facility

An Alberta Health Services inspection has uncovered serious health and safety issues at a long-term care facility in Lacombe, Alta.

AHS said it has taken “significant action” to improve the conditions at the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre after an internal review uncovered deficient staff training and unsanitary conditions at the health-care facility.



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    The review and audit began in April 2017 after “serious concerns” about the quality of care at the Lacombe facility were raised by Red Deer College practical nurse students completing their practicums at the health-care centre.

    The inspection found several issues, including food past its best before date, dirty products stored with sterile supplies and used razors left unattended and unsecured.

    Several staff training issues were also discovered in the areas of wound care and management, infection prevention and control, restraint use and management, safe lifts and transfers, dementia care, and palliative and end-of-life care.

    “Our first concern is for the residents living in the Lacombe long-term care facility,” said Brenda Huband, vice-president and chief health operations officer with AHS.

    “We take these concerns very seriously and we responded quickly with our investigation and audits with support from Alberta Health.”

    All 75 residents of the care centre were re-assessed by home-care nurses, according to AHS. Their families were also notified of the inspection.

    The statement from AHS was released after the Wildrose party leaked the inspection documents on Tuesday.

    Wildrose Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr said the “serious failings” must be addressed “in order for faith to be restored in our health-care system.”

    “Patients and their loved ones have seen inadequate levels of care that are simply unacceptable, and that must change,” Orr said.

    “Wildrose will hold the NDP government to account to ensure that significant problems found in the initial investigation are fixed.”

    AHS said three staff members have been placed on leave following the inspection.

    A plan has been put in place to bring the care level back up to where it should be. The facility has been thoroughly cleaned and education sessions will be introduced for all staff to ensure they understand the standards for continuing care, AHS said.

    “It is best practice in continuing care to develop care plans with input from residents, their families if they choose, and a multi-disciplinary care team,” Huband said. “Our care planning process should respect that this is their home and should take into account their desires about the care they want and need.”

    Further issues discovered at the facility included:

    Antibiotic usage and infection rates were heavily prevalentCare plans did not consistently reflect the findings of standardized assessments used to determine the client’s health care needsSome charts were missing care plansPost-fall assessments were not completes as per best practiceDietary assessments were not implemented or documented on care plansVital signs monitoring was inconstantly completedWound care interventions were not implemented and/or not accurately documentedThings like toileting plans, wake-up and rest schedules, intake and output diaries were not being completedHealth-care providers did not have access and/or a clear understanding of the most up-to-date policies and proceduresNot all staff working with clients with dementia were trained in care of clients with dementiaNot all health-care providers received training in risk management, fall prevention, CPR, palliative and end-of-life care, restraint use and safe bath and shower water temperature methodsDocumentation of immunizations to prevent the spread of infectious agents was inconsistently documentedOpen dressing supplies were found in clean supply areaSafe storage of medication was not consistently implementedEye wash stations were expiredMedication was found to be unsecured