An aged care facility on Sydney’s northern beaches, which was sanctioned last only month after secret film revealed a resident being allegedly assaulted, has confirmed it called police to two other incidents in recent months.
In response to reports of alleged resident-on-resident assaults in The Daily Telegraph, Bupa Seaforth confirmed to HelloCare that it notified police of incidents on 21 June and 25 September.
Police investigated both matters, but didn’t take them any further, Bupa said.
The Department of Health was notified of both incidents.
Bupa said it was working to find ways to prevent such incidents from happening again.
“Bupa has been working with the residents involved, and their families, to help ensure similar incidents don’t occur again,” they said.
In September, a film secretly taken at Bupa Seaforth revealed a staff member allegedly pushing, shoving and hitting an elderly man. The member of staff was fired, and was later charged by police.
Police at the time called the incident “elder abuse”.
Sanctions were imposed on Bupa Seaforth soon after the incident, after the Department of Health deemed the facility posed an “immediate and severe risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of care recipients”.
The Department states on the My Aged Care website that it has “serious concerns” about health and personal care, clinical care, pain management, skin care, and behavioural management at Bupa Seaforth, among other things at Bupa Seaforth.
The sanctions mean Bupa Seaforth has had its funding for new residents cut, and must appoint an administrator and an advisor to help it improve its operations. Staff must also undergo tailored training.
Last month, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison called a Royal Commission to investigate the aged care sector, after a number of cases of serious abuse were revealed and reported widely in the media, and amid a sharp increase in the number of facilities being sanctioned or deemed ‘high risk’.
Reporting incidents such as those that have occurred at Bupa Seaforth is uncomfortable for us all, but the Prime Minister himself has told Australians to brace themselves for more “bruising” stories – though of course it must be pointed out that the vast majority of aged care facilities do not report poor care, and look after seniors wonderfully.
The Royal Commission presents an opportunity, not only to hear the stories of the many Australians who have been disappointed by the care their loved one received, it’s also an opportunity to put measures in place to improve standards, and to ensure older Australians are receiving the care they deserve.
It’s only by airing these stories, by talking about them openly, can we get to the bottom of how they occur, and think about how we can prevent them from happening again.