Investigation after woman, 87, injured at nursing home
THE circumstances surrounding an elderly woman's facial injuries sustained during her time at a Coffs Harbour nursing home is under investigation by federal authorities.
Brett Clayton has raised concerns over the bruising suffered a few weeks ago by his 87-year-old mother-in-law Frances Woolveridge, who has been diagnosed with dementia, while staying at Japara Coffs Harbour Aged Care.
In a letter to federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt, Mr Clayton said he was told a 'commotion' was heard from Ms Woolveridge's room where she was found lying on the floor.
The Registered Nurse on duty apparently told Mr Clayton it looked like she had slipped on the wet floor and suffered a 'shiner' but was 'comforted' and put back to bed.
Ms Woolveridge's daughter Susan later photographed her injuries, revealing bruising on her nose, and both the right and left sides of her face.
Regarding the bruises, Mr Clayton claims Ms Woolveridge has stated 'that's where he hit me' on several occasions.
Mr Clayton added this was not the first time the nursing home reported Ms Woolveridge had suffered a fall.
"I'm not blaming any staff member, but we're getting told a lot of different stories," he said.
"It's become murky, we've established that. We just want to find out what happened.
"People do have falls but here you have an 87-year-old woman with no history of balance issues, and on all occasions no one has seen anything."
Mr Clayton raised particular concerns over Japara Healthcare's policy "Respecting Night Time for Residents - Etiquette Guidelines" introduced earlier this year, which orders staff not to check in on residents overnight, according to an article published by the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this year.
A Japara spokeswoman told Fairfax Media they are committed to providing the 'best care' to residents.
"We are focused on minimising the risk of our residents falling, including staff undertaking falls prevention and incident management education and we then apply individual strategies based on the care needs of each resident."
Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt has confirmed the incident is being investigated by the Aged Care Quality Safety Commission.
Last week, Labor candidate for Cowper Andrew Woodward said the upcoming Royal Commission into Aged Care should hold special sittings in regional areas.
Mr Woodward said with 5274 people in aged care across the Mid North Coast, it is important for locals to participate without having to travel.