Elderly home operators have advance knowledge of random government inspections, enabling them to make preparations to ensure everything is in order, according to an industry insider.
The inspections by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) are conducted seven times a year and operators almost always get a pass, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday, citing a former nursing home employee.
The employee, surnamed Lau, worked in the elderly care industry for 15 years. She left recently.
Staff would be warned about an upcoming inspection and instructed to make sure their wards “look comfortable” and to remove any restraints on them, she said.
Lau said inspectors would merely look at a checklist provided by the home and would not bother to interview the employees.
The supposedly “surprise visits” likely missed details about their conduct and qualifications, as well as how the home is run, she said.
Lau said she left her job because she could no longer put up with the system and the institutional abuse.
SWD did not respond to requests for comments.
The allegations followed reports of abuse at Tai Po Cambridge Nursing Home, a private elderly care facility.
Photos of elderly residents being made to wait naked for their bath triggered a fierce public backlash after they surfaced in newspapers and on social media.
On Wednesday, Secretary for Labor and Welfare Matthew Cheung promised to investigate.
He said the government might revoke the operator’s license if the reports are true and there is enough evidence of misconduct.
Cheung said all inspections are conducted at random and no advance notice is given to operators.
Meanwhile, the police are investigating if any crime has been committed.
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