Revealed: Victorian aged care residents endured wounds, burns and stalking

Published December 04, 2017 11:26:26

Laurel James Photo: Laurel James, who’d advanced dementia, endured burns to fifteen percent of her body. (Provided: Glenda Hipwell)
Map: Ballarat 3350

Documents acquired through the ABC under Freedom of knowledge (FOI) laws and regulations detail serious concerns around treating residents in aged care homes across country Victoria, which victims say is a result of a shortfall in staff ratios and skillsets.

Patients being hospitalised with burns and allegations of stalking and harassment by psychologically ill residents, are among probably the most worrying cases uncovered in western Victoria alone.

‘Excessive’ water temperatures

Ballarat lady Glenda Hipwell contacted the over 60’s Care Complaints Commissioner in 2016, after her 89-year-old mother was hospitalised with burns to fifteen percent of her body in an aged care facility in central Victoria.

Laurel James, who’d advanced dementia, had been given a sponge bath in her own bed once the incident happened, and spent greater than a month recovering within the acute-care ward.

It is among three complaints over the region associated with neglect, abuse or standard of healthcare the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner resolved between 2016-17.

Another, unredacted copy from the resolution report presented to the ABC by Mrs James’ family shows water temperature in her own mother’s room was ‘in excess’ from the 45-degree temperature per the Victorian Building Authority for aged care services.

“The analysis discovered that a minumum of one employee was conscious of the unnecessary water temperature but unsuccessful [to] report the problem to senior staff,” the report noted.

“Based on the employee, she didn’t think it essential to report the problem as she thought ‘everyone knew’.”

Seniors dementia patient ‘could have forfeit her foot’

Generic image of an elderly woman's wrinkled hands Photo: Aged care advocates believe a greater ratio of registered and enrolled nurses is required to react to the requirements of patients. (ABC Central West: Melanie Pearce)

Inside a separate incident in the provider concerning the management of an injury on Mrs James’ feet, Commissioner Rae Lamb figured that the “failures of staff to again follow due process is of interestInch.

The report discovered that staff had unsuccessful to notice a lesion was worsening and achieving full of pus. If this was identified, it had been inside a severe condition and required 2 to 3 several weeks to heal.

“As the mother has diabetes, [this] might have been serious as the mother might have lost her feet,” the report read.

It noted that, regardless of the provider’s own wound chart instructing the lesion must have been reviewed every 72 hours, there wasn’t any documentation to point that staff reviewed, monitored or redressed the wound for 11 days.

At this time, it’d deteriorated and needed antibiotic treatment.

“The concerns are suggestive of a general insufficient supervision and clinical oversight at that time,Inch the report concluded.

As a result of the report, the company subsequently reviewed its staffing and talent mix, and elevated the amount of registered and enrolled nurses in the employment.

‘People could be outraged if the happened in childcare’

Individuals with a family member in aged care say concerns inside the sector are not even close to isolated and believe a greater ratio of registered and enrolled nurses is required to react to the requirements of patients.

One lady, that has requested simply to be referred to as Thelma, placed her 48-year-old daughter into aged care within the Ballarat region after being identified as having early-onset dementia, and stated she experienced the shortfalls of entry-level staff first hands.

“[Another patient] accustomed to follow my daughter around frequently and stalk her and are available to her door. I did previously let them know [the company], I am not implementing her back before you do something positive about this,” she stated.

“They’d say, ‘oh, it’s in check, we have just upped his medicine’. Which should happen to be handled far differently.”

While Victoria’s Safe Patient Care Act prescribes ratios of rns for openly-owned nursing facilities Physician Sarah Russell, a investigator with Aged Care Matters, stated it just covered around 30 condition-owned homes, and not the 2,670 other aged care homes round the country.

“There’s lots of evidence to exhibit that the amount of staff working and also the skill mix, meaning rns and enrolled nurses, the much more likely you will have greater standards of care,” she stated.

“People could be outraged when there were not mandated trained staff within the childcare sector, yet aged care homes don’t have any mandated ratios. That’s some type of symbol of the way we treat the seniors.”

Topics: community-and-society, aged-care, careers, carers, family-and-children, child-care, ballarat-3350, creswick-3363, wendouree-3355, warrnambool-3280, portland-3305, colac-3250

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