May 24, 2023

Commission finds staff at fault for death of resident

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70-year-old Dennis Miller was found unresponsive outside of his room in the Royal Freemasons aged care centre in Moe. [Source: Latrobe Valley Authority]

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains images and the name of a person who has died.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) has chastised a Victorian nursing home in a report following their investigation into the death of resident, Dennis Miller. 

70-year-old Dennis Miller was a resident at the Royal Freemasons aged care centre in Moe where he was found unresponsive outside of his room in the facility on May 15, 2022, raising concerns about clinical negligence.

Questions around the facility’s actions after Mr Miller was found unresponsive, whether he was checked overnight, and why photos of his body were taken and allegedly distributed, were raised after he was found in his own blood and vomit and died.

The incident sparked investigations and a coronial review into Mr Miller’s death after his family complained.

ABC News reported that ACQSC’s investigation found the facility had multiple failings and criticised its staff for waiting 21 minutes to call an ambulance. It was also found that staff took photos of Mr Miller before calling the ambulance and “did not appropriately monitor” him overnight despite him being given strong prescribed painkillers, having a history of falls, and drinking alcohol the night before he died.

Furthermore, the report outlined that staff didn’t provide clinical assistance such as basic first aid when they found him – they instead went to check if Mr Miller had a do-not-resuscitate order. The order was in place when he died.

The report noted that basic medical attention could have “resulted in a different outcome” but that it was now “a matter for the coroner to determine”.

The Commission audited the facility in January, and the following month revealed it had failed two of the 44 mandatory quality standards. Despite this, the Commission extended the home’s accreditation for another year in February.

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  1. So many terrible things going on in aged care. I am in my 70s and feel very worried of ending up in care. Homes are paid to give care and respect to frail old people but it seems to be a hit and miss thing. Too many misses.

  2. Why?
    This kind of behaviour among workers is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. You have a DUTY OF CARE…Clearly none was given here in this situation. It is any wonder why people do not want to work on this industry due to the bad rap everyone gets because of the behaviours and negligence of others

  3. DIsgusting and this sort of thing is going on all the time the staff these facilities are employing should not even be employed most of them have no empathy or respect for the aged I have just left aged care after six years because of this reason . The owners of these facilities do not care either i found out after putting in multiple complaints they still do nothing. And then you get the Accreditors who keep passing these facilities were they should be closed down. Or investigated more thoroughly than they are.

  4. Bloody disgusting the home should be shut down,
    What did the ceo of the organisation have to say?

  5. This tragedy and many other unreported tragedies come down to poorly educated people looking after residents with complex comorbidities and ageism by government with habitual underfunding!

    All aged care staff need Basic and Advanced life support, CPR, being able to recognise deterioration, dehyration, changes in concious states, basic anatomy and physiology etc. ie first year RN curriculum as a minimum.

    To have elderly people cared for around Australia by well meaning people who have done a 6 week online course is NEGLIGENT. It is a cost saving exercise and classic discrimination due to ageismby State and Federal governments.

    The one registered nurse on duty cannot be everywhere and aged care facilities need to have more RN’s and EN’s specially trained in gerontology. Facilities often have only one RN per shift for 60 + residents , less in the dementia/memory unit. There needs to be agreed ratios of RN:agedcare residents/acuity of those residents as some are much sicker than other.

    Aged Care facilities should no longer be custodial care facilities of the early 1900’s with residents waiting for God though some facilities hold onto that model and resist change.

    People are being discharged from acute care to aged care at much earleir stage of recovery, due to pressures in acute care and A&E, so aged care staff need to be appropriately qualified and remunerated to deliver this care.

    NDIS is draing staff from aged care because they are able to pay higher salaries so staff are difficult to recruit to aged care.

    These problems have been caused bty the siloing of different health services. Silos in business disappeared many decades ago and the same needs to happen for human health care. Aged Care should be an integral part of the acute health system. It is inefficient to hive off aged care, mental health, NDIS from any health care model. Health care provision should exist from pre-conception to post death…all receiving the same basic level of care plus extras as needed. Economies of scale with staff and health delivery standards shared across all facilities would improve if staff were all appropriately educated and interchangeable for each area of care.

    Finally under current model aged care should be a requirement of the RN graduate year to expose RN’s to aged care as a career option and to increase the interchange of knowledge of nurses rotating between different facilities. Aged care should be recognised as a specialist area of care and remunerated accordingly.

  6. Absolutely disgusting, why are staff allowed to use their mobile phones on duty in the first place,?? Why on earth would you take photos?? They should be held accountable for this.
    My mother had a fall at her facility, the staff took a video of her whilst she was calling out for help to get back into her bed??? 🙄 I was devastated when I saw this video and have vowed to name and shame the facility (which is in South Africa,) but my siblings won’t allow me to for fear of reprisal on my 101yr old mum, does anyone know how it feels??? I am more than willing to share on this site if you would like me to..

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