Claims elderly in Hinkler left to die of simple illnesses

SHOCKING claims about the level of care in Hinkler region nursing homes have been made following a secret report by the Queensland Nurses' and Midwives' Union.

The union and volunteers formed a group of members and volunteers to inspect 70 aged care facilities across Queensland at the weekend.

Union secretary Beth Mohle said the audit had revealed shocking understaffing including aged care residents being left without registered nurses overnight.

"We know that aged care facilities are dangerously understaffed throughout Queensland and Australia, and that elderly residents are suffering as a result," she said.

The audit claims shocking neglect at aged care homes in the Hinkler electorate - including claims a resident died because of a lack of medication.

The report states that the person developed sepsis from a urinary tract infection that could have been treated with a pill.

Another claim is that a resident was left with a broken hip for 48 hours before family visited and an ambulance was called.

In yet another claim, a resident is said to have fell overnight while visiting a toilet unassisted. They suffered a broken arm which allegedly went undiagnosed until family visited 24 hours later.

Families claim in the report that even food was an issue, with "inedible" food served three times a day.

Further claims suggest staff were too busy to attend all staff at meal times and that meals were made from frozen or thawed ingredients or made from packets.

The union has also alleged that allegations aged care managers in the region are receiving bonuses as a result of keeping costs down.

Cost-cutting reported included locking up gloves, incontinence pads or refusing to replace items that ran out, the union says.

The union says budget cuts are responsible for evening meals of sausage rolls and pizza.

According to the audit, meal choice has been taken away from residents and they regularly complain they cannot chew the food they are given because it is too hard with dentures.

Permission for drugs like endone and morphine being given to unqualified staff including over the phone by staff who are qualified but work at other facilities within the organisation was another claim of the report.

According to the audit, staff members giving the permission for drugs had never laid eyes on the resident and were not present to conduct any kind of assessment prior to giving permission for medications.

The union labelled the practice as "extremely dangerous".

Additional reports suggest that bed-bound residents' showers were reduced to one a week due to lack of staff.

Hinkler nursing homes, according to the report, are also leaving residents with fractures in agony for more than 24 hours due to a lack of nurses on shift.

The union says residents are often being left for long periods of time after falls or suffering injuries because there might only be one registered nurse rostered on.

"Behind closed doors, in almost every city and town, registered nurses are being left to look after up to 200 residents at a time. While nurses and other staff are doing their best, but they simply can't meet the demand for care under those circumstances," Ms Mohle said.

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