Leah Floyd
Leah Floyd Contributed

Why did mum have to die?

THE care that quadriplegic mother-of-two Leah Floyd received during her final weeks on the Sunshine Coast is being examined in detail during a coroner's inquest.

Organisations being investigated in the wake of the 48-year-old's 2013 death include specialist disability service and accommodation provider BE Lifestyle, the Nambour General Hospital, the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and Blue Care.

Carers employed at BE Lifestyle's Yandina Creek facility in 2013 answered questions before Coroner John Lock yesterday in what was expected to be a week-long inquiry at Maroochydore Court House.

Mrs Floyd's husband Stuart was also present for the proceedings.

His wife was permanently injured in a fall from a height in 2012.

She was discharged from the Princess Alexandra Hospital's spinal injury unit to the Yandina Creek home on August 26, 2013. Mrs Floyd died in Nambour General Hospital on October 10, 2013, just six weeks and one day after leaving Brisbane.

She had been admitted to Nambour General Hospital's mental health unit on September 5 and then discharged back to the BE Lifestyle facility on September 19. The 48-year-old was then re-admitted to Nambour hospital on October 6.

Coroner Lock heard Mrs Floyd had a pressure sore on her lower back when she left Brisbane and that sore worsened in the lead-up to her death. He told Mr Floyd he hoped the inquiry would provide him with information into his wife's death and would bring attention to improvements that could be made in care.

More specifically, the inquest will focus on the adequacy and appropriateness of the health, disability and supported accommodation services provided.

That will include the adequacy of mental health assessment, planning, follow- up and support provided by Nambour General Hospital in relation to Mrs Floyd's September 19 discharge and up until the date of her re-admission.

Stuart Floyd leaves a Coroner's Inquest at Maroochydore Court House into the 2013 death of his wife Leah Elizabeth Floyd.
Stuart Floyd leaves a Coroner's Inquest at Maroochydore Court House into the 2013 death of his wife Leah Elizabeth Floyd. Stuart Cumming

It will also cover whether the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services responded appropriately to concerns about her mental and physical well-being during her time at BE Lifestyle after being discharged from Nambour hospital.

The adequacy of care provided at BE Lifestyle after Mrs Floyd's return from hospital will also be a focus, particularly in relation to pressure sore prevention and treatment.

Former BE Lifestyle carer Debra Holton was one of the staff who looked after Mrs Floyd during her stay.

Ms Holton yesterday said she did not understand why management at the facility had called an ambulance to take Mrs Floyd to Nambour hospital. She said Mrs Floyd had been confused as to why she was admitted to the mental health ward. Ms Holton said in the past, when a customer became too hard for the company to handle, they were sent to Nambour General.

She referred to one other occasion as an example but conceded she had not discussed with management the reasons behind moving Mrs Floyd.

A physiotherapist, social worker, occupational therapist and registered nurse from the Queensland Spinal Cord Injuries Service also gave evidence as well as current BE Lifestyle employee Sarah Frost-Foster, who also had cared for Mrs Floyd.



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