‘Absolute mayhem’ inside nursing home
FORMER staff of the troubled Earle Haven nursing home are heartbroken at the mayhem endured by its elderly residents during a rushed relocation in the middle of the night.
Staff who were on site as emergency services were called in last week during a staff exodus, have told the Gold Coast Bulletin they felt abandoned and betrayed by their employer HelpStreet Pty Ltd.
On Thursday morning workers at the Nerang home's aged care facility were told by contractor HelpStreet they were out of a job and would not be paid due to a contract dispute with facility owner PeopleCare Pty Ltd.
Staff said they watched on in horror as valuables including fridges, patient medication and documentation were cleared by people they described as "strangers".
They called triple-0 when they realised the 70 residents - many suffering dementia - had no other option.
One nurse told the Bulletin she was ashamed of the treatment of residents, many of which were veterans.
"All I know is that I'm there to look after these people, many served our country, they are like family to me and I my love my job," she said.
Another nurse said the only indication of the impending closure was the disappearance of patient medical record databases that morning which management put down to a Wi-Fi outage.
HelpStreet and its legal representatives have not responded to Bulletin requests for comment.
"They must have known earlier on that they were leaving, they could have told us," the nurse alleged.
"We were told there was no internet as the servers were getting upgraded but they had already been removed," the nurse claimed.
Another Earle Haven nurse said the company' CEOs had descended on the site earlier that morning which did raise suspicions.
"None of the staff had a clue beside management," another nurse told the Bulletin.
"At 1:30 I got a phone call telling me roughly what was going on and then we all received two massive statements," she said.
"I went in and it was absolute mayhem. I'd never seen anything like it."
The nurses spoke of their efforts to calm the residents while struggling with their own uncertain future.
The owner, PeopleCare also brought kitchen staff in to assist with dinner in a bid to keep residents distracted, staff claimed.
"But once they had to start packing they were all very stressed," a nurse said.
"I had a phone with me the whole time so I was answering calls from distressed families a lot of the time. When I wasn't I was just talking to the residents and giving reassurance.
"We were helping the Queensland department of health identify everyone as all the information on our residents was taken away."
HelpStreet management had reportedly left around 5pm.
"Staff were amazing and helped where they could. All the residents were very confused and some angry. It was so upsetting to see them all leave," she said.
"I haven't heard a single word from HelpStreet since Thursday morning and have no idea what's going to happen with pay. All employees have been left in the dark.
"I have bills and loans to pay, it so upsetting to think they can just up and leave so many people."
Despite the mass exodus all staff members contacted by the Bulletin said they would return to work at Earle Haven if another management company was put in place.