Coroner has found staff covered up a resident’s death by suspected drowning

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The Victorian coroner, Heather Spooner, has stated that the death of 76-year-old Catarina Montalto at the Arcare Hamstead facility “was not initially reported to the coroner as it should have been”. 50 minutes of CCTV showed the resident stumbled in the dementia unit courtyard and fell into a water filled decorative fountain. The footage revealed the actions of staff once the resident was discovered. The coroner described them as little more than a cover up.
A young carer on staff reported the incident to her union which led to a police enquiry. The whistleblower was subsequently sacked on the basis she was unsuccessful in her probationary period. The family were told Mrs Montalto had died of a heart attack. The police investigators accidentally found the CCTV footage.
The coroner made a particular point that Arcare had hired a PR company to assist them with their responses regarding the death.