Shock claims of aged abuse
TOOWOOMBA'S TriCare aged care nursing centre is under a Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing investigation arising from complaints of lack of adequate care for patients.
The department issued a statement to The Chronicle on Wednesday confirming it was investigating a number of complaints.
"The Department of Health and Ageing has received complaints regarding care and service provision at an aged care home in Toowoomba and departmental officers are currently reviewing these complaints," the statement read.
"The department will continue its inquiries and if it is found there was a failure to ensure the appropriate level of care, the department will take swift action to ensure the care needs of the residents at the home are being met."
The Chronicle believes a report voicing a number of concerns for patient care at the Curzon St facility had been forward to the department.
Many of the residents at Tricare are considered "high needs" patients.
It is believed some of the concerns raised with the Department of Health and Ageing include cost-cutting measures leading to a short-fall in equipment needed to treat certain patients, that one resident was left without being fed, bathed or shaved for up to four days, a patient with a gangrenous ulcer left unattended for an inappropriate length of time, a bedridden stroke victim going days without being bathed or showered, and a patient left in their own faeces for up to 18 hours before being changed.
One source who visited the TriCare Aged Care home described the facility as "understaffed and poorly managed".
However, TriCare board of directors member Grant Cowan told The Chronicle yesterday that department investigators had been at the facility on Tuesday and had informally informed them that they could find no evidence to substantiate the complaint.
Mr Cowen said he could not comment on the specifics of the complaint as it was "private and confidential".
He said he was unaware of any subsequent complaint that may have been made to the department after the matter that was investigated this week.
The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing statement included the advice: "Anyone who has any concerns about care and services in Commonwealth-subsidised aged care homes should contact the Aged Care Complaints Scheme on its toll-free number 1800 550 552".