We invited members of our community to share their experiences and perspectives of aged care services. Disclaimer: These stories have not been independently verified. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of Aged Care Reform Now and are shared for information purposes only.
My mother had to go into an aged care home due to her dementia. Apart from the dementia, she was a very happy, energetic, fun-loving lady.
I was at the home when she arrived – told the nurse on hand to please look after her. The nurse bent down and kissed my mum on the forehead – it made me feel very uncomfortable. I wish I had listened to my gut instinct. A week later, mum had gone from her energetic funny self to being bedridden and crying ALL the time. My sister and I visited her every day.
One day the nurse walked past and casually mentioned she had taken mum off all her medications. I wish I had asked why, but assumed, as she was a nurse, there was a reason for it and assumed she would have spoken to a doctor to get permission. After a few days of constant crying, my sister finally asked them to give her some pain relief. They certainly did – 3 days later she died.
I had asked another nurse if it was necessary for mum to still be on painkillers and her EXACT reply was “we can’t stop the process now”. Once again I stupidly “assumed” they meant it was a course of anti-biotics. I now realise they overdosed her. I can NEVER forgive myself for placing mum in that place. [This facility has since demolished].
One of the days I was there, I could hear a resident yelling out for help for at least five minutes – I found someone to tell – they went into her room and said “what are you doing trying to get out of bed, you know that’s how you broke your hip last time”. All the poor woman wanted was to use the toilet.
A friend of ours worked in a nursing home in Queensland, and after witnessing a staff member slap a dementia patient across the head (more than once) reported it to management and two weeks later resigned because of the way she was then treated by staff.
It is way beyond time for a major overhaul of the system. Huge profits are made at the expense of the unfortunate residents. I am in the situation that at some stage in near future, I will have to look for aged care for my husband – I feel sick at the thought. I will be doing LOTS of research and hope to find a place that actually do CARE.
PLEASE start mending this very broken system.
Do you need support? OPAN provides free services to support older people and their representatives address issues related to Commonwealth-funded aged care services and informs people of their rights and responsibilities: 1800 700 600 or opan.com.au