‘I would see him sitting in urine with no shoes on’
A Sydney nursing home found to have failed 24 counts of care standards has been allowed to continue operating.
Carino Care in the Sydney suburb of Russell Lea failed to manage residents’ medication, and has had people in its care die in pain and distress, as well as from malnourishment.
However, the new government watchdog has ruled the facility can stay open until November.
The family of former resident Luigi Cantali is outraged by the decision, saying the facility’s neglect “definitely” played a part in the 80-year-old’s death.
Speaking to Today, Cantali’s daughter Eva Rinaldi said she witnessed the mistreatment of her father when visiting him at the facility.
“I would rock up late at night, about 10pm, and I would see him sitting in urine with no shoes on, on the floor,” Rinaldi told Today. “The door would be shut and he would be wrapped up in a sheet, just shivering. That was when he caught bronchitis”
Rinaldi was made aware of her father’s mistreatment at the facility after the 80-year-old raised the alarm. Despite having dementia and being blind, Rinaldi said her late father was very aware of what was happening.
She also noticed bruising “all over [Cantali’s] body” while he was living in the facility. The alarming photographs she captured of her father’s body are documented below.
“I was very, very surprised. I knew something was wrong. Even to the point they wouldn’t shower him and they would roll him into the bathroom and then just leave him in there for an hour and change his shirt,” Rinaldi added.
“He would tell me every single thing.” Rinaldi complained to Carino Care but was told by her father that nothing had changed.
Compelled to take drastic measures, Rinaldi put a video camera in her father’s room. He later told the nurses about the camera and they went looking for the device. When it was discovered, Rinaldi claims she was banned from visiting the facility.
“I saw a big decline in my father, especially in the time when they banned me. He just went from being normal to just so sick,” she added.
“They [Carino Care] said that he got the best care and that was simply not the case. We were paying all this money to this organisation and they are just not following through with they are supposed to be offering.”
After being banned, Rinaldi said she contacted the aged commission for assistance. “They just basically sent me a letter then closed off the complaint and said they wouldn’t investigate any further. That was in January,” she said.
Since then, the facility has been charged with 24 counts of neglect yet has been allowed to remain open. Carino Care has also expressed they plan to retrain staff from the facility.
“It’s disgusting. It’s a big slap in the face,” Rinaldi said about the ruling.
The Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, declined requests to be interviewed by Today. His office did, however, issue the below statement.
Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians
The terrible things that have come to light are heartbreaking and completely unacceptable.
Stories like Mr Luigi Cantali’s has been front and centre my mind in taking on the responsibility of Aged Care Minister. Mr Cantali deserved better care. I have been advised that the Department of Health issued a notice of non-compliance to Carino Care on 24 May 2019 in relation to 28 expected outcomes not met.
I am advised Carino Care is working closely with the Department of Health and Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to remedy this non-compliance.
The service has engaged a Nurse Advisor and clinical consultant to support the service to meet the timeframe for improvement set by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission ahead of applying for reaccreditation.
The Government is committed to driving high quality care across the sector which is demonstrated by the introduction of new resident focused quality standards, a charter of rights which came into effect on 1 July 2019, and of course that is why we called the Royal Commission.
Our whole focus is to improve the delivery of Aged Care for Senior Australians.
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