Daughter says aged care needs overhaul
FOR a once-proud woman, sitting at the dinner table in her nightgown would have been a humiliating experience.
Evie Higgins's mum was a resident at Blue Care's Pioneer Lodge until her death in November.
Ms Higgins said after reading stories in the NewsMail about patient care at the aged care facility, she had to speak up about her own family's experience.
Ms Higgins's 95-year-old mother transferred to Pioneer Lodge last year after the Millbank facility made the decision to shut down one of its wings.
"We were totally happy with her care at Millbank. The rooms were older but the care was much better,” Ms Higgins said.
She was in the facility for about 10 months but it was the last three, when she was unable to get around, that her care slipped, Ms Higgins said.
"During her final few months, my mother was completely immobile and hardly able to drink, let alone feed herself. She was often without water when my sister and I visited. Food served was often unsuitable for her.
"In her last weeks she was complaining that she was cold. No wonder, with doors and windows wide open and the fan on high. When told of this, a senior staff member said, 'I am only one person and I have to think for a lot of others.' Eventually a sign was put in mum's room - sadly, only the day before she passed away.
"We found the situation frustrating as management was often unavailable at the time specific complaints needed to be voiced.”
Ms Higgins said there was another incident where, after a bout of vomiting, her mum's false teeth were thrown out and she was without a replacement for three months.
Ms Higgins wasn't scathing of all staff at the facility but said she felt there was a breakdown of communication between management and staff, particularly in regards to company policies.
She also criticised the patient-to- nurse ratios for the care her mum received.
"I think there needs to be an overhaul of aged care.”