Latest Breaking News & Top Headlines

Shocking conditions in a nursing home where 50 elderly residents died with Covid Melbourne

0

Residents of a Melbourne retirement home were subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment during a COVID-19 outbreak when 50 of them died, a judicial inquiry has said.

The investigation into the deaths at St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner during the state’s second outbreak in 2020 opened Monday with the names of each of the deceased read in court.

In an opening statement, counsel assisting Peter Rozen QC said the staff at the house were considered “close contacts” and were fired on July 22.

The Commonwealth took over the house despite multiple warnings not to replace regular staff.

An investigation into a Covid-19 outbreak that led to 50 deaths at a Melbourne retirement home has learned that conditions there were getting so bad that health personnel burst into tears

He said a physician involved in the response, Dr. Rabin Sinnappu, warned that the dismissal of St. Basil’s staff would lead to disaster, while another doctor described it as a “shocking” idea.

Mr Rozen said a lack of concern for residents had become apparent by the end of the first day of the acquisition, after the federal health department was unable to recruit enough new staff.

“There were far too few of these workers in St. Basil’s to provide care at the level the residents deserved and the law required,” he said.

The court heard that on July 23, pathology staff testing the residents found the conditions “shocking to say the least.”

The medical director of Melbourne Pathology, Dr Ellen Maxwell, warned the Victorian health department in an email that COVID-positive residents interacted freely, bins were full, personal protective equipment had not been cleaned and medicines were on the floor.

She said a staff member was in tears, appalled that a deceased patient was being wheeled out of the house without an attempt to clear people’s hallways.

Sources have revealed residents in poor conditions have been taken out of the facility very hungry and dehydrated (pictured hazardous waste being removed from St. Basil's this week)

Sources have revealed residents in poor conditions have been taken out of the facility very hungry and dehydrated (pictured hazardous waste being removed from St. Basil’s this week)

Last year, a distraught family member was seen outside Epping Gardens nursing home in Melbourne

Last year, a distraught family member was seen outside Epping Gardens nursing home in Melbourne

The first witness at the inquest was Christine Golding, whose mother Efraxia, 84, contracted the virus at home.

She testified that St. Basil’s had provided her mother with good, culturally appropriate care, but during the outbreak, her mother’s treatment was inhumane and degrading.

Although Efraxia was unable to feed herself, several trays of food were found in her room, and at one point she was unable to speak due to dehydration and lack of food, Ms Golding said.

She recalled that the facility manager warned that if staff were laid off, people would die from neglect rather than from COVID.

“I got a shiver down my spine,” she said during the hearing.

During the outbreak, a group of families of residents met outside the house, and when staff wouldn’t tell them who was in charge, they started banging on the windows until the police were called, she said.

“It was a state of chaos and despair … the anger was driven by fear,” she said.

St Basil's Home for the Aged in Fawkner, in the north of the city, has been linked to hundreds of cases and 50 deaths as the clinic's shocking conditions are revealed

St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner, in the north of the city, has been linked to hundreds of cases and 50 deaths as the clinic’s shocking conditions are revealed

Residents of the retirement home in Fawkner were all transported to private hospitals by health workers

Residents of the retirement home in Fawkner were all transported to private hospitals by health workers

“Australians deserve to know why our COVID-19 preparedness for aged care was so poor, why it spectacularly failed my mother and contributed to her untimely death.”

Mr Rozen said the inquest would not put the blame on the workers deployed to care for the residents of St Basil, and said the evidence would show some of them went “above and beyond”, but the circumstances were impossible.

He also explained that an expert report would indicate that the delay between the notification of the first COVID case in the home on July 9 and the test results becoming available on July 17 was the main cause of failure to contain the outbreak. , as well as a lack of coordination between state and federal health services.

Forty-five residents died from the coronavirus, but the investigation covers five other deaths in the home during the same period.

Victorian state coroner John Cain will hear from 65 witnesses over the next five weeks as to how the virus entered the home and how it spread among residents.

To add to the chaos, a garbage bag containing coronavirus tests (pictured) was reportedly left unattended in St. Basil's for six hours before being picked up by a taxi

To add to the chaos, a garbage bag containing coronavirus tests (pictured) was reportedly left unattended in St. Basil’s for six hours before being picked up by a taxi

.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.