Gaining aged care accreditation standards: the Guwardi Ngadu experience

Brief report
Published in the HealthBulletin
Posted on:
11 October, 2001
Related topics

In February 1991 Guwardi Ngadu Frail Aged Hostel was officially opened by the Hon Peter Staples the then Minister for Health. At this point in time the hostel like so many others in the Kimberley was ran by well meaning individuals, predominantly non-Aboriginal. The staff during this time were also non-Aboriginal who were dedicated to providing the old people of the Fitzroy valley with the best care possible given the remoteness of the area and the lack of appropriate services. The difficulty of providing appropriate care was highlighted by the first visit to Guwardi Ngadu by representatives from the Accreditation standards agency. The officers found that Guwardi Ngadu did not meet any of the 44 outcomes.

In 1998 the administration of Guwardi Ngadu was handed from Junjuwa Community to Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services. It would be up to the committee of Nindilingarri to take Guwardi Ngadu from what it was to accreditation in the year 2000. As it happened Guwardi Ngadu was successful in gaining one-year accreditation with a lot of work to be done before the next site audit in July 2001.

As we now know Guwardi Ngadu was successful in gaining three years accreditation with a satisfactory rating in all but cultural and spiritual for which a commendable was achieved.

The commendable rating was a very significant stage in the development of not only Guwardi Ngadu but for all people who provide services to predominantly aboriginal residents.

The commendable rating proved that the Accreditation Agency had recognized the need to accept the way in which services are provided to the old people of Guwardi Ngadu. The needs of the old people of Guwardi Ngadu are provided in such a way that it may not be totally in accordance with the standards but are provided in the way the Aboriginal culture dictates. This was perfectly demonstrated when the chairperson, two staff members and the Aboriginal assessor discussed in secret aspects of the Cultural and Spiritual side of Guwardi Ngadu. The information provided was not included in the site report and remains between those present at the meeting.

The gaining of the 3 years accreditation was also very positive for the town of Fitzroy Crossing and the Fitzroy valley in general. The people of these areas have been informed through the recent AGM of Nindilingarri and through the local radio station of the success that Guwardi Ngadu has achieved and the recognition that it has brought to services provided to Aboriginal people by Aboriginal people. Currently the only non-Aboriginal working at Guwardi Ngadu is the manager whom it is envisioned will be replaced in the near future by an Aboriginal person.

Graeme Cooper
Guwardi Ngadu Frail Aged Hostel
Fitzroy Crossing