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Multiple deaths in QLD nursing home leads to multi-pronged investigations

Investigations are continuing and have been brought into the public eye in regards to the deaths of five residents at a Queensland aged care facility late last year.

The deaths of five residents at a Queensland aged care facility are being investigated (Source: Shutterstock)

The concerns, which were highlighted by staff to Carinity Fairfield Grange management in November 2017, were focused around the deaths of five residents who had received palliative care at the facility in Townsville.

In a statement issued by Carinity Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jon Campbell, he says the concerns were reported to the relevant authorities, and that a number of staff were dismissed in relation to the concerns.

“In November last year, Carinity reported to the Queensland Police and the Coroner our concerns surrounding the deaths of five residents who had received palliative care at our Fairfield Grange Community,” Mr Campbell explains.

“We lodged a report with the Office of the Health Ombudsman relating to a doctor associated with all five of the reports to the Coroner and police.

“We also reported three registered nurses for breaching Carinity’s clinical policies and procedures - all three were dismissed for not fulfilling their duty of care.”

Mr Campbell reassured remaining residents, their families and community members that there is “no risk” to residents at the facility, saying that Carinity “removed any harm or potential of harm” last year when the concerns were initially raised.

The dismissals and first internal investigation into the concerns came following a complaint from a Carinity staff member, with Mr Campbell saying as soon as the provider became aware of the breach of procedure on 21 November, the staff concerned were removed from the workplace and the matter was reported to the relevant authorities on 22 November.

“The care and wellbeing of every resident at Carinity is our primary concern [and] we are deeply saddened by these events and extend our sincere sympathies to the families affected,” Mr Campbell says in his statement.

“As this matter is before the police and Coroner, it would be inappropriate to comment further until the police and Coroner have concluded their investigations.”

Mr Campbell adds that the provider is “fully cooperating” and working with the police, Coroner, Department of Health and the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency for their investigations.

Department of Health Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt also shared his condolences to affected families, saying in a statement of his own that the provision of safe, quality care is “non-negotiable”, and that the health and wellbeing of senior Australians in aged care services is of “paramount importance”.

“I am extremely saddened to hear of the deaths at Carinity Fairfield Grange and my thoughts are with families, friends and other residents,” the Minister says.

“As police continue their investigations, I have asked the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner to urgently examine that the approved provider, Carinity, has taken the appropriate actions.”

Minister Wyatt adds that if families or friends have any concerns about the care of their loved ones at Fairfield Grange, or any other aged care home, they should immediately contact the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on 1800 550 552


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