We assisted a client in her claim against an aged care facility concerning the preventable death of her mother (Mrs S) whilst she was under the facility’s care.
Mrs S was a resident of the secure dementia ward at the facility and was known by staff to tend to wander. Just three days after she entered the aged care facility, she was found to have escaped the locked ward. The daughter discovered her mother was missing when a friend had informed her that she had passed her mother walking along a busy road. She telephoned the facility who said that they had been looking for her too. By this stage, she was two kilometres away from the facility.
Three years later, Mrs S fell and fractured her hip in the garden of the facility and was transferred by ambulance to the John Hunter Hospital after she lay for over an hour on the ground. She was also diagnosed with pneumonia from lying in the cold for an hour and a half before nurses found her. As a result of the facility’s failure to ensure that Mrs S was safely housed and monitored, she subsequently passed away.
We alleged negligence on the part of the facility, arguing that they failed to ensure the safety of Mrs S, resulting in her exiting the premises through a security door that had been left ajar. We also alleged that the facility failed to appropriately address the absence of Mrs S for an hour and a half on the evening on which she fell.
Our client was motivated by a desire to ensure that what happened to her mother did not happen to others. She was directed to the Aged Care Complaints Service (ACCS) which found that the facility had failed to meet its responsibilities to her mother and were in breach of the Quality of Care Principles.
It is imperative that aged care facilities take seriously the circumstances of each patient and the safety of their residents in order to avoid tragic outcomes. Mrs S’s death was preventable and easily avoidable had the care facility acted within their responsibilities and duty of care owed to Mrs S.
Our clients successfully resolved their case.
If you have a loved one in an aged care facility who you believe is not receiving adequate care, we can help advocate for you. If a loved one has died in an aged care facility and you believe the death could have been avoided, or was a result of negligent care, talk to us about the options available to you.