Oct 12, 2021

Heartbreak as aged care resident found alive 8 days after disappearing dies in hospital

Missing SA aged care resident
Image: SA Police – Mr Jeffery Beaton.

An 83-year-old man who disappeared from an Eyre Peninsula aged care facility in South Australia, has died in hospital, after being found alive eight days after he went missing, Adelaide Now has reported.

 Cleve District Hospital and Aged Care resident, Jeffery Beaton, was reported as missing on Saturday, October 2, at approximately 9.30pm, only to be found eight days later extremely dehydrated and sunburnt, several kilometres away on Sunday, October 10.

 Upon his discovery, Mr Beaton was immediately flown to hospital in Adelaide. Sadly, his wife Carol confirmed her husband passed away on the morning of Monday, October 11, after sustaining “a lot of injuries” during his disappearance.

 One of the members of the search party said Mr Beaton “wasn’t in a good way” when he was finally found after more than a week, during which SES volunteers and SA Police undertook an extensive search to find the missing elderly man.

Justin Brumfield, an SES volunteer who participated in the search to locate Mr Beaton, described the conditions as “windy and wet weather” to Adelaide Now.

He continued, “I searched from 11.30pm through to 3am and they said we’ll search again at first light.”

Mr Beaton’s disappearance from the aged care home, which borders residential homes and vacant blocks of land, has raised concerns regarding the safety and security of the facility.

“Residents are free to come and go as they please,” shared a local man to the news outlet, who requested to remain anonymous.

“The facilities are unsecured and not designed to manage dementia patients,” he added.

Meanwhile, SA Health – the operators of the aged care home where Mr Beaton was a resident – has come under the spotlight after refusing to comment or explain how the 83-year-old went missing in their care.

A spokesperson from SA Police explained “no further investigation from the police into the security of the hospital” was being undertaken.

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  1. Very sad story my condolences to all affected. Security and dementia is a vexed question. Aged care facilities are not prisons, the problems arise when the symptoms of dementia exacerbate which through the very nature of the disease is difficult to predict. Anonymous bystanders comments do not constitute the facts in this case and do not help in determining the best course of action in the future. I am surprised this publication included them.

  2. I would rip through that hospital , I would make sure they are fully investagated with no stone left unturned, if he had of been cared for correctly then he might still be alive today, this is unexceptable , our elderly need to be cared for correctly , these nursing homes get bloody good money to care for there patients , if they can’t do the job correctly then they need to get out , people want there loved ones cared for and be able to trust the nursing home to care correctly for there loved one

  3. And yet, despite all the hype about changes and safeguards since the Royal Commission and all the govt. PR hubris regarding nursing institutions – what has changed – nothing , other than our hopes and prayers for an better outcome turning to dust.

    Many recommendations have been made by the Royal Commission which did an excellent investigation into aged care but very few, if any, of those recommendations have been implemented. Those that have are as effective as a limp lettuce.

    I am so very sorry for the family and the poor elderly man who must have been terrified when he got lost.
    What a very sad and unnecessary end for the family concerned.

    Aged Care facilities advertise their “expertise” in looking after dementia patients and providing the necessary care. This is a specialised field but very few of the staff have the necessary training to provide that care.

    So, if they cannot “determine the best course of action” then they should not claim to be able to provide it. It is not the role of the “bystanders” to provide this determination as is suggested by Sue Brown below and endorsed by Gail Fewson.

    Aged Care facilities should already be well versed and prepared for such circumstances. Dementia is unpredictable and requires consistent observation and care. There are just not enough staff and, quite often, not the right kind of staff. Aged Care requires specially trained empathetic personnel who should be paid and treated fairly – not overworked AINs who understand only the bare bones of the disease.

    I have absolutely NO sympathy for the aged care providers. The owners of those facilities do very well financially and it is a pity that they do not share the rewards by providing well trained and well paid staff who have expertise in this field. A three week TAFE course does not even touch the tip of the iceberg.


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