’Low act’: Dying Aussie booted out of home in food row
Breathless and suffering a terminal illness, Kylie Kilroy was moved out of her aged care home after she complained on social media about the food and conditions.
Now she's having to manage her final days in her own home hooked up to a portable oxygen tank.
Mrs Kilroy told News Corp Australia's Aged Care 360 investigation the Toowoomba home in regional Queensland rationed her morphine - delivering it only once every four to five hours instead of the prescribed two hourly dose - and also rationed access to incontinence pads.
The gentleman in the room next to her kept falling out of bed and was yelling in pain, she said.
"There was not enough staff at all like they were just running, they'd literally run pushing me in the wheelchair to the toilet, put me on the toilet, race off and do something else and then I'll have to buzz for them to come back to get me off the toilet and back to the room," Mrs Kilroy, 55, said.
Despite her alleged treatment, Mrs Kilroy said: "I feel sorry for the staff, you know."
Mrs Kilroy was placed in the TriCare home earlier this year as an overflow patient from the local hospital.
She was moved back into Toowoomba Hospital after she tweeted pictures of the unappetising food.
"There was nothing nutritious about it, it was gross the mashed potato was the packet stuff, wasn't fresh, the beans in that picture they're not even green, they're like, they've been boiled rotten It was so salty. It was not fresh" she told News Corp.
Mrs Kilroy said she lost 4kg after entering the home and weighed just 38 kilos.
Asked why she went public she said:
"I just shared how I was feeling that morning. I was in tears I was just rock bottom and I just put out the tweet. And I didn't mention TriCare or anything and it was just this was how I was feeling," she said.
Her Twitter handle does not reveal her identity and she was surprised to learn her local MP Dr John McVeigh, the Federal Member for Groom, whom she hadn't contacted, had forwarded the tweet to the home's administration.
She felt intimidated when TriCare questioned her about her complaints and said they would "contact the hospital".
"At that stage I just thought, well I didn't even feel safe staying now after that … I didn't feel safe being there anymore," she said.
"I'm extremely vulnerable on oxygen I can't do anything much," she said.
Dr McVeigh told News Corp although his office had never been contacted directly, he "became aware late Wednesday 29th July of a detailed public Twitter feed that included serious allegations of poor service in what was identified to us as a local aged care facility".
"In line with formal protocols we were obliged to immediately contact the facility to put those public allegations to them and promptly referred the matter to the Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission and the Office of the Minister Aged Care and Senior Australians," he said.
"On Friday 31st July we also referred separate anonymous allegations received about the same facility from other parties late Thursday 30th July," he said.
His office had since received confirmation that the Commission has followed up on those referrals, he said.
TriCare director Peter O'Shea said "the Aged Care Act prohibits TriCare from disclosing Protection Information of current or previous recipients of our residential aged care consequently, we cannot discuss matters in connection with the individual you refer to."
Originally published as 'Low act': Dying Aussie booted out of home in food row