The neglect of an 82-year-old aged care resident in Queensland prompted her daughter to install a camera in her room and they were shocked by what they found.
Steph Fitzgerald installed a camera in her mum, Fran Nilsson’s, room at Ozcare Hervey Bay after Fran reported staff were being “rude to her” and calling her names. Mrs Fitzgerald’s camera allegedly filmed evidence of mistreatment which included leaving Fran in a soiled bed for hours, allowing other residents to wander into her room during her final days and leaving her bedridden with a 6cm bedsore that exposed the bone of her spine.
Fran moved into aged care in 2016 after having a brain bleed and a bad fall that left her needing a walker. Mrs Fitzgerald told A Current Affair that Fran’s first few years at Ozcare Hervey Bay were good, but last year her health started to decline and so did her care.
“They’re not doing what they say they’re going to do, which is let the people die with dignity and respect… If it wouldn’t have been for the camera, I wouldn’t have found out the way she was being treated,” Mrs Fitzgerald said.
After a second brain bleed in June 2022, Mrs Fitzgerald said her mum was diagnosed with the brain conditions vascular dementia and parkinsonism.
Only a few months later, Mrs Fitzgerald watched Fran from the camera attempting to get herself up from her bed using her chest of drawers which subsequently fell on her.
Fran begged for help for 25 minutes, calling out to her late husband, Peter, before a worker pulled the draws off her and scolded her for the accident. Ms Fitzgerald rang the home to check her mum was observed for injuries – she alleges the home told her Fran was checked 2.5 hours after the incident.
Fran died on April 25 this year and the poor level of care she received has taken a toll on Mrs Fitzgerald and her family who said that “every day is a challenge”.
She has reported her complaints about the facility to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission who provided a statement to A Current Affair. It stated that the Commission visited Ozcare Hervey Bay from October 25 to 27, 2022 to conduct an unannounced reaccreditation site audit.
The home was found non-compliant with 14 of the 42 requirements of the Quality Standards in the areas of consumer dignity and choice, ongoing assessment and planning with consumers, personal and clinical care, human resources, and organisational governance.
“In February 2023, the Commission issued the provider, Ozcare, with a Notice to Remedy, requiring the provider to commit to a number of actions to address the non-compliance identified at its service following the October audit,” said Commissioner, Janet Anderson.
Ozcare also provided a generic statement to A Current Affair which stated that it is “committed to ensuring our Hervey Bay facility provides the best care possible”.
“We continue to work closely with clients and families at all times to resolve any concerns.”