State-run aged-care homes under police spotlight

Published on

QLD police has found itself involved in investigating no less than 16 serious complaints to Queensland Health in 2018 with regards to sexual assault and excessive force claims in state-run aged-care homes.

The details of assaults range from one resident’s fingers being badly bruised after being handled by a worker to a sexual assault allegation.

There’s irony in the fact that the Queensland government only last month announced IT would ‘lead by example’ by mandating fixed nurse-to-resident ratios to improve the level of care, threatening to name and shame private providers if they failed to publish their ratios.

And to add insult to injury a Queensland Health spokesman would not confirm which facilities were subject to the complaints OR the outcome of the investigations.

We do everything we can to provide the best possible care to our frail and elderly,” he said.

Opposition Health spokeswoman Ros Bates says the nature of the complaints was alarming.

Ms Bates said Queensland Health needs to be more transparent about its own centres.

She says, “The public have a right to know if there have been complaints made about state-run facilities which affect our most vulnerable, elderly residents.”

During last week’s Royal Commission hearings in Brisbane, we heard half of the residents at the beleaguered Earle Haven aged care facility were being physically restrained and 71% were also being chemically restrained in the weeks before it abruptly closed its doors last month.

It appears regardless of whether an aged-care facility is state-run or privately owned, the light needs to be shone on the woefully under-regulated Australian aged-care industry.

It will be interesting to see in October, what recommendations, if any, are made in the preliminary report from the Royal Commission with regards to improving transparency of the current complaints process.

Meanwhile, the QLD Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee will investigate the closure of Earle Haven Retirement Village, in particular, the quality and safety of care provided to former residents and the circumstances around the sudden closure of the facility.

The committee is seeking written submissions from the public and interested stakeholders about events at Earle Haven. In particular, the committee is calling for residents and their families, former staff, doctors and other medical professionals, industry bodies and anyone else with information about events at Earle Haven to come forward and provide a written submission to this investigation.

Written submissions should be emailed to careinquiry@parliament.qld.gov.au

Share.