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Case study – fighting for justice for family of aged care resident

Case Study – Fighting For Justice For Family Of Aged Care Resident

We’re helping one of the families featured in the second part of Who Cares?, the ABC TV Four Corners expose into the aged care sector, to fight for justice.

Alana Freeman’s mother, June, died of sepsis at Presbyterian Aged Care Wescott in Stockton, near Newcastle, in 2016. June, aged 87, had gone to live in the aged care facility only three and a half months earlier. She needed help managing her diabetes but was otherwise independent. After just three days, June had a bad fall. Despite her excruciating pain, and pleadings from Alana, she wasn’t sent to hospital until she had another fall a week later. It turned out that June had a fractured vertebra that she’d been sitting on for eight days.

When June returned to the home she was unable to walk and eventually developed pressure sores. She had them on her heels, her ankles, her elbows, and a large one on her bottom. No-one told Alana or other members of her family. Alana only found this out when she saw the medical notes after June had died. The family went to the Aged Care Complaints Commission. Ten months later it reported that the home didn’t regularly liaise with the GP, had not sought a wound specialist review and had left wound care to be mainly completed by untrained carers. But the Aged Care Complaints Commission closed the case. It did not visit the nursing home for its investigation nor refer its report to the Quality Agency. Three months later the regulator extended the home’s accreditation by an extra nine months for sustained compliance with the standards.

Alana is justifiably angry. She told Four Corners: “The way my mother has died is not normal. It is not natural.”

Our expert elder law team is helping Alana and her family to sue Presbyterian Aged Care for professional negligence. On her decision to litigate, Alana says it is the only way in Australia to have these places accountable.

They can’t be prosecuted. They just seem to be a law unto themselves, and they need to be named and shamed. They need to be hit in the hip pocket. If more people would do this, then they might think twice how they look after people.

If you have a loved one in an aged care facility whom you do not think is receiving adequate care, we can help advocate for you. If a loved one has died in an aged care facility which you believe could have been avoided or was a result of negligent care talk to us about the options available to you. Contact us here. 

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