Australia: Aged care royal commission hears OAM professor poorly treated at Southern Cross Care facility - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Aged care royal commission hears OAM professor poorly treated at Southern Cross Care facility

13:05  12 november  2019
13:05  12 november  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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At Southern Cross Care SA Adelaide NT Darwin Connected Living Aged Care Services from Community Home Help, Independent Living and Southern Cross Care is a dynamic, values-based, not-for-profit offering exciting career opportunities across South Australia, the Northern Territory and

a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Neville King, photographed in 2018, the year he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia. (Supplied: The Examiner)© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Neville King, photographed in 2018, the year he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia. (Supplied: The Examiner)

Neville King is, according to his wife Judith, a "once-in-a-lifetime person".

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The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is a royal commission established on 8 October 2018 by the Australian government pursuant to the Royal Commissions Act 1902. The Honourable Richard Tracey AM RFD QC and Ms Lynelle Briggs AO were appointed as Royal

But by July, he was living in Glenara Lakes aged care home in Tasmania's north, where his condition deteriorated so badly he was once found on all fours, rendered delirious by dehydration.

Mrs King said she had to repeatedly push staff at the facility to properly hydrate her husband.

"If he were a dog I'd report it to the RSPCA and he'd be removed," an emotional Mrs King told a Hobart hearing of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety on Tuesday.

"I've been very sick, I don't know if I will outlive my husband. We're a little family of two. Neville won't have an advocate if I'm gone, and I'm so disappointed that people in aged care are being treated in this manner."

Judith King told the Hobart hearing of her disgust at her husband's treatment.© ABC News Judith King told the Hobart hearing of her disgust at her husband's treatment.

The account of Dr King's experience at Glenara Lakes included mismanaged medications, missed showers that left him covered in dried urine, thousands of dollars in broken and stolen property, and alleged intimidation from staff, some of whom Mrs King labelled "dragons".

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The operations of Glenara Lakes' owner, Southern Cross Care Tasmania, have been under the microscope since hearings began on Monday. In particular, how decisions made by the board and executive management have impacted on residents' health outcomes.

Two of Southern Cross Care's homes, Yaraandoo Hostel in Somerset and Glenara Lakes at Youngtown, failed audits by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission last year.

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Two former managers of Glenara Lakes revealed they walked from their jobs specifically because they were worried about residents' health and safety.

A distraught Helen Marshall held back tears as she told the hearing "I couldn't compromise any more staffing cuts, I couldn't compromise the quality of care to the residents of Glenara Lakes".

"I said if I have to cut one more hour I will go, and go I did."

Peter Williams, another former manager with national experience in the aged care sector, was not told the facility had failed some accreditation standards ahead of his appointment and lasted only 10 weeks in the job, he said in evidence.

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At Southern Cross Care SA Adelaide NT Darwin Connected Living Aged Care Services from Community Home Help, Independent Living Explore all services. At your service Southern Cross Care 's services have been developed to support people just like you. Here's where you can find out

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"I want to be able to change the industry in a positive way, and I didn't feel like I would ever have that opportunity within Southern Cross," Mr Williams said.

In his short time at Glenara Lakes, Mr Williams said he had dealt with seven serious staff incidents, including allegations of elder abuse.

Each manager detailed the pressure they felt as a result of Southern Cross Care's so-called "break even" strategy — at Yaraandoo the strategy meant an eight-hour reduction in care hours in the morning and six hours at night.

The hearing was told that Glenara Lakes had just one enrolled nurse for 16 dementia patients overnight.

Two former managers gave damning evidence about their time at Glenara Lakes.© ABC News Two former managers gave damning evidence about their time at Glenara Lakes.

Provider CEO 'sorry for tension and anxiety'

Former Southern Cross Care finance director Andrew Crane said the pressure on facilities to break even was not expected to impact on residents when it was first conceived.

He pointed to cuts to the federal aged care funding instrument as placing pressure on Southern Cross Care, and he was among several current and former senior employees who said they believed the reduction in staff hours would not compromise residents' health.

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Southern Cross Care chief executive Richard Sadek said he had taken the advice of his managers when signing off on changes to the operations of nursing homes, but he conceded there were areas where the provider could have done better.

He said policies had changed since the homes failed audits and new positions had been appointed to ensure Southern Cross Care fulfilled its mission of providing quality care across its nine residential aged care facilities.

Getting the facilities back up to scratch cost Southern Cross Care about $1 million anyway, Mr Sadek said.

"I would like to apologise to those residents and their relatives who have experienced the circumstances that have been portrayed here at … the commission," Mr Sadek said.

"We're not about providing poor care. Our whole mission, our 47 years of existence, is about providing the highest quality of care.

"I apologise and I say I'm sorry for them to endure the tension and the anxiety that they have."

Glenara Lakes passed a follow-up audit in March but Yaraandoo Hostel remains subject to unannounced visits, according to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

The Hobart hearings of the royal commission run until November 15.

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