Dana Gray pleaded guilty in April to assaulting a resident while working at the Estia Health Epping facility in 2016. Picture: Ben Rushton
Dana Gray pleaded guilty in April to assaulting a resident while working at the Estia Health Epping facility in 2016. Picture: Ben Rushton

Man, 56, burned to death at NSW aged care home

A wheelchair-bound resident has burned to death at an aged care facility on the NSW mid-north coast.

Kenneth Seach, 56, was in an allocated smoking area at the Estia Health Tuncurry facility when his clothes caught alight on August 26.

Mr Seach's family claim he was unattended in the area and attempted to open the door and call for help, but wasn't physically able.

Estia Health Facility in Tuncurry on the NSW north coast. Picture: Supplied
Estia Health Facility in Tuncurry on the NSW north coast. Picture: Supplied

Mr Seach was airlifted to Concord Hospital and treated for severe internal injuries and burns to 60 per cent of his body but died the next morning.

He had undergone a hip replacement two months earlier and suffered regular falls in the following months.

Mr Seach's cousin Karen Gregorenko told The Daily Telegraph his most recent fall occurred in the same smoking area just two nights before the fire.

"He couldn't get back in," Ms Gregorenko said.

"He was found crawling and covered in blood".

Mr Seach was taken to Taree Hospital and received six stitches to his eye and eyelid.

His family have filed complaints with the Aged Care Commissioner, alleging Estia Health failed to recognise Mr Seach's increased falls risk, his deteriorating cognitive and physical condition and failed to adequately supervise him.

Mr Seach had been living at Estia Tuncurry for almost three years. Picture: Supplied
Mr Seach had been living at Estia Tuncurry for almost three years. Picture: Supplied

Ms Gregorenko said her cousin, who suffered a form of dementia, epileptic seizures and insomnia, had been living in the Tuncurry facility for almost three years and questions why, after a fall two days prior, he had been unsupervised.

"He's out there on his own dying, on fire".

"His aesophagus was burnt and so were his lungs … it's just horrific.".

Estia Health confirmed the fire and death of one of their residents in a statement yesterday.

"Estia expresses its deepest sympathy and ongoing support for the family of the resident and our thoughts remain with them," the statement reads.

"Estia also recognises this was a traumatic event for the staff and other residents at the home, and we continue to provide support to them.

"This matter is currently before the Coroner and Estia will not be making further comment."

Estia Health describes itself as "one of the leading aged care providers in Australia", with 68 facilities across NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

Dana Gray pleaded guilty in April to assaulting a resident while working at the Estia Health Epping facility in 2016. Picture: Ben Rushton
Dana Gray pleaded guilty in April to assaulting a resident while working at the Estia Health Epping facility in 2016. Picture: Ben Rushton

The company made headlines in 2016 after a staff member at its Epping nursing home was accused of assaulting a resident.

Dana Gray pleaded guilty in April to one charge of common assault and was sentenced to 17 months home detention, with a non-parole period of six months.

No charges have been laid over Mr Seach's death with police from the Manning-Great Lakes LAC and the NSW Coroner investigating.

Mr Seach’s family claim the 56-year-old was left unattended in the smoking area. Picture: Supplied
Mr Seach’s family claim the 56-year-old was left unattended in the smoking area. Picture: Supplied


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