When the doctor did visit, he wrote in the chart but never entered the room

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.

I would like to share my dad’s story. He was 85 years old and 22 years post heart transplant. He had issues with uncontrolled pain and as a family, we were still trying to find ways to get him comfortable and he never gave up trying. His mind was sharp as a tack.

In June last year [2020] after Covid lockdown, dad lost his mobility quickly and became unwell. He had 2 falls in 2 weeks. He requested to see his doctor and was told they could only contact the doctor via email. We are in Tasmania so the Covid-19 restrictions were not as profound as it was under control here. He asked on 2 more occasions to see his doctor over the next week as he was feeling terrible and was coughing up blood.

The doctor came to the facility 3 times in the nine days following and he never went to see my dad. He wrote in his chart but never went to his room. I tried to call the doctor myself but got no return phone call. On the 9th day, my dad phoned me and he was distraught and frightened.

I rang the nursing home and asked what was going on with the doctor. They couldn’t answer me so I called my dad an ambulance and met him at the hospital. My dad was bleeding internally into his lungs as his blood was 3 times thinner than it should have been. He needed blood transfusions and they tried everything to clear his lungs of blood but as he was now immobile it was near impossible.

He was looked after so well in the hospital. After much discussion with specialist doctors my father, rather than go back to the nursing home, chose to be handed over to palliative care where he stopped all his medications including his anti-rejection drugs for his heart. He died 5 days later.

I advocated for my dad and I couldn’t protect him from the doctor’s or the nursing home’s neglect. There are so many without relatives. I fear for them. It has been 8 months and I cry every day. How can this be happening to our loved ones? Is this what we have to look forward to when we become old and frail? We need reform now to protect those who are being neglected in the system. I miss him. He would rather die than continue living in the nursing home. AGED CARE REFORM NOW PLEASE.


If this story caused sadness or distress, please reach out for help.
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au
Headspace: 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au

Do you need to lodge a complaint? We have information on which government agency to contact, and how to explore legal support here: https://agedcarereformnow.com.au/resolving-complaints/where-to-make-an-aged-care-complaint/

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

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