Jan 31, 2022

Health authorities apologise after grandmother living with dementia dies alone

Health authorities apologise after grandmother living with dementia dies alone

Health authorities have apologised to a South Australian woman and her family after Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) did not allow a single visit to their 95-year-old relative who was living with dementia and died on the weekend from complications arising from COVID-19.

Last Thursday, Paige Carter posted an emotional video on social media pleading with authorities to grant her family an exemption to tough COVID-19 restrictions which banned patient visits.

Ms Carter’s grandmother had been in hospital since January 1, when she tested positive for COVID-19. She was sent to rehab, but her condition deteriorated, and she returned to QEH.

She was not allowed a single visitor during her entire month-long stay.

In the video, Ms Carter reveals her grandmother is “all alone” and has “no understanding” of why her family has not visited.

“This is cruel. This is so cruel.”

Paige carter
Paige Carter pleaded for an exemption to see her grandmother via social media.

“I want to know what you would do if this was your mum or your nana. Change these rules,” Ms Carter said, addressing South Australian Premier Steven Marshall.

“Old people do not deserve to be treated like this.”

Doctors told Carter that if her grandmother’s condition deteriorated further, she would be allowed two visitors. Ms Carter’s grandmother had nine children and dozens of grandchildren.

The visit never came.

In a subsequent social media post, Ms Carter questioned why society is being opened up while older people are forced to die alone.

“Why!? Because those events bring money to our state and the elderly don’t so apparently they no longer matter. #disgusting”

On Saturday, Ms Carter revealed her grandmother had died in hospital – her family had not been granted a single visit.

“I am completely heartbroken.

“I don’t know how to function knowing I’ll never see my nana again,” she continued.

“All I can think about is that she spent the last month of her life alone.

“I will feel the utmost grief, pain and guilt for the rest of my life.”

Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN), the branch of SA Health responsible for QEH, issued a statement sending its “sincerest condolences” to Ms Carter and her family.

“We always do everything we can to ensure patients receive the best possible care in the absence of family and loved ones,” a CALHN spokesperson said.

“We apologise that, in these circumstances, this was unable to be arranged for Paige and her family.”

Premier Marshall also commented on the tragic circumstances, expressing his “sincere, sincere condolences” to the family.

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  1. I have been following this story, and upon learning that this poor woman had died alone, no visits prior, no family health advocate allowed to discuss her care, no one called in when she was dying, has appalled and distressed me greatly.
    Shocking policies and inhumane treatment for both this dear woman and her family. Abhorrent! I do not want my 92 yo mother entering a hospital for so called ‘care’. Better to be surrounded by familiar faces, hopefully loved ones, not just Care staff! 😡

  2. This is so sad & heartbreaking that a woman who has raised a loving family has to go through this alone.
    It’s unacceptable that someone should be so ill and frightened, why could they not allow a couple of her children in to sit with her.
    My dad passed away in March last year & when it was clear he wasn’t going to make it we brought him home to my home where he could be surrounded by his 7 children . I know that’s not always possible but it was the right thing for us to do. My dad was very scared about dying but at least he had his adult children around him and his last few weeks he saw all his grandchildren, great grandchildren. We chatted about our mum who had passed 7 years earlier. He had someone holding his hand as he passed & im so grateful for that.
    This madness has to stop, when we allow a full stadium at sports, but can’t have family with loved ones to reassure them and say goodbye.

  3. How many Royal Commissions do we need, how many outcries from Registered Nurses to go back into age care do Politicians never report on, how many times do we here these stories of the beautiful people who we a legacy of and we need to fight for until things change.

    I am here to fight for the beautiful generation that gave me the tool to be who I am today. Our Grandparents the people who gave us our values, they deserve all our love, dignity and respect.

    What do we do to honour and care for them? I am in👏💪👍💗💗💗

  4. GOVERNMENT – Stop the blame game and fix it! Yes we are failing our elderly. The elders of our families are being neglected and often left alone to die in Nursing Homes and hospitals without the comfort of their loved ones around them. I understand that the staff in Nursing Homes and Hospitals are overwhelmed, and have been for 18 months or more. The Government are talking about bringing in the Armed Forces to help man Nursing Homes. Here’s a thought – why not let one loved one in to the Nursing Home each day to sit with, help feed and dress their loved one? RAT test us, make sure we’re vaccinated, put us in gowns and masks, but let us in to help. Let us give them comfort and love – give them the opportunity to hold our hands and feel that they are worthy of someone’s time. Wouldn’t this give the staff a little bit of relief to spend more time with those that need more care, or those that do not have loved ones visiting?
    How many more have to die alone? It is disgusting, and the Government at all levels should be ashamed.
    I lost my Mum in a Nursing Home in July 2021, she was alone and frightened – she didn’t die of COVID, but she died because of COVID. I have a message on my mobile, where she accidentally redialled my number when we had finished a call. In the message, I could hear that she was asking a staff member for help. The staff member said she had to do something else and would come back. Mum begged the staff member not to go, that they always say they are coming back and they never do. She went on to call out begging for someone to please help her. Nobody came back during the length of that message. She passed away later that night. I am haunted by that message.
    We should be flooding Facebook with pictures of the faces of those beautiful souls that died alone, it might make the Government get their butts into gear and fix it. Let’s see all those beautiful souls – they are not just statistics, they are someone’s Mum or Dad, Grandma or Pop.


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