Apr 11, 2022

100-year-old aged care resident left alone in agony after breaking leg

100yo woman broken leg

It is believed centenarian Jean Finlayson fell from her wheelchair and broke her leg. The other leg suffered a deep cut. 

Her granddaughter, Cheryl Harris, found her “Nana … lying on the floor writhing in agony, lying in a pool of her own blood.”

“I was inconsolable,” she told The Courier Mail.

Jean is described by her loving family as “feisty”… really bossy and very funny”. Every day she dressed in her Sunday best, “like she was going to church”, they said. She has three children, 12 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Her family are concerned the accident occurred on a Sunday, which is notorious for being short-staffed. 

“We could see that buzzers would be going crazy, old people would be crying out and no one would come,” Cheryl told news outlet.

The home in question said staffing levels are consistent every day of the week.

The Nurses Professional Association of Queensland told The Courier Mail that “in general, aged care homes were notorious for cutting corners and unfortunately some try to skimp on Sunday penalty rates, leaving homes understaffed and under-skilled.”

Cheryl said staff could not tell the family exactly what happened, and an incident report was simply “scribbled on a scrappy piece of paper”.

She told The Courier Mail the fall has “sucked the life” from her beloved grandmother

The number of staff to every resident is “a disgrace”, Cheryl stated.

“There is never enough people watching over the vulnerable residents,” she observed.

The aged care provider told The Courier Mail that CCTV footage showed staff were not at fault for Jean’s fall and they acted appropriately. It said an official incident report was recorded.

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  1. Good luck with that. I found my Mum lying on a flat air bed with a fractured pelvis grinding her teeth in pain. I could not find any staff on the whole floor and when I went downstairs to find the Manager there was a child playing under the desk. The Manager was in another office talking to what appeared to be a friend. I spent two years investigating and reporting everything and all I got was a letter of apology. What a joke.

  2. Elderly people fall – at home, in public, visiting family and in nursing homes. Unfortunately, no matter what precautions a nursing home takes, they will always be portrayed as the “bad guy” by both the media and some families.
    If grandma fell at home, or heaven forbid while in the care of family while on a social outing, it would be “one of those things” – the family would never be held to account as negligent because they took their eyes of grandma for several minutes and she fell trying to get out of her wheelchair.
    Nursing homes, or hospitals for that matter, can not provide 24 hour 1:1 care . I don’t see such negative media attention every time a hospital patient has a fall – and be assured they do fall, and they do sustain injuries.

    1. I totally agree with you Cheryl.
      I retired from aged care nursing after a proud career of 50.5 years as an AIN,RN, NUM and aged care manager for 30 years (at 62 years old)
      I worked on the floor, long hours, many hours after work etc to ensure our residents received the best care possible with often inadequate staffing levels (under Labour and Liberal Government’s) I became totally disheartened and sickened by the the continuing negative reports about aged care homes, the increased workload to maintain compliance and will never return to nursing.
      My 90 year aunt fell at home and fractured her femur in November 2021. She continued mobilising in some pain for a week before she saw her GP. She was sent to hospital for X-rays, had surgery to pin and plate her fractured femur. Then she fell again whilst climbing out of bed unassisted in the hospital rehab unit and re-fractured her femur. So back to theatre.
      That was very unfortunate for her. Did I complain No. They were both unavoidable accidents.

  3. Our thoughts are with Jean and family.
    The current Government is not prepared to address the extensive problems verified at the Royal Commission regarding Residential Aged Care Facilities.
    The Opposition’s answer is they will attempt to have an RN in each facility. It is not the RN’s role to fix the many problems in RAFS such as the one in this article.
    The problems lie with the Providers who could care less – they are protected like the Emu.
    While the so-called regulator – the ACQ&SC is not prepared to be honest and announce ‘we are a white elephant!’

    1. Perhaps the term “Quality and Safety” could be taken from their title. The department has gone through various restructures due to functional problems. In my opinion they are still failing their roles in ensuring adherence to Standards and the welfare of the older person.

  4. I agree with everyone’s opinion here. I t is not ideal but there is a reason why families put the elderly in aged care. The worry that something may happen in their charge is stressful and daunting. It will happen no matter where your loved ones are. Even sensor beams and sensor mats aren’t reliable because by the time the sensors go off the resident is usually on the floor. We do need more staff and we need a staffer to walk the wards and check on residents all the time but this often disturbs the residents when someone is always opening a door to check. Or they could have a sliding peep hole in each door without disturbing them. But alot of falls will still happen even with more staff on. You cannot stop a person from standing up. Hence falls are inevitable. Or we could have someone in their room with them 24/7. This is the reality of life as we all age.

  5. How shocking & sad for this darling centenarian. Reminded me of the exact experience I endured with my darling centenarian mother. I was not advised my mother had a fall until 12 hours later – when a qualified staff member rang me…… Too little too late – my mother deserved much better care & compassion.

  6. I can understand that it was short staffed and they say the staff were not at fault for the fall, B U T what about helping this Elder up and getting the medical attention that was needed instantly.

    How long was this Elder lying there in pain and agony and now this trauma that she is experiencing and will keep on reliving.

    There’s not enough wanting to do our jobs to the best of our abilities and abled bodies and getting paid appropriately. Instead there is more focus on “Its not my fault” (how childish) or “I’m not not getting paid enough, someone else should be doing this job – everything else you can think of, instead of BEING A RESPONSIBLE PERSON/EMPLOYEE/BUSINESS.

  7. ….and to think, one lousy seat belt and anti slip seat mat could have saved ALL this trauma! We have seat belts in cars and in planes and in rides, yet nursing homes can not have any of these safety measures in place because they are now classed as ‘restraints’. How many times are we now hoisting people off the floors because there are no bed rails for their safety. Each resident should be assessed for falls risks and restraints (I would rather call them safety measures) for their physical and emotional safe guarding. There have been areas where bed rails have been not suitable, even hazardous, but the design should have been worked on (for example mesh instead of bars) and assessed individually. Now we have low low beds, mattresses on the floors, bed exit mats…all a trip hazard for both staff and residents. Some residents are traumatised by falling onto floor in the middle of the night/day, having to be rolled off the mattresses onto the cold floor so that a hoist can get around them, then being strapped up and hoisted back onto the bed.. until next time. Dignity very low. This can be a continual event so family members can very easily turn up right at the time the resident rolls out again and just see them traumatised, not knowing what the staff have been through numerous times before they arrived. One lousy bed rail or seat belt could have saved all that trauma, humiliation, excessive work load and excessive floor equipment (and disturbance to the roommate should there be one) and that resident would be tucked safely in bed or be safe in wheelchair. Each case should be an individual assessment for ‘restraints’


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