26 June 2019
Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety hearings in Perth this week have explored a case study of abusive care received by an 89-year-old resident in an Adelaide aged care facility.
The Commission explored the experience of Clarence Hausler, a resident who was living with severe dementia at a Kingswood aged care facility for 13 years. Mr Hausler had high-care needs which included assistance with almost all daily activities, including eating.
Clarence’s daughter Noleen Hausler gave evidence at Monday’s hearing along with Japara’s former facility manager, quality manager and former director of aged care services.
Ms Hausler told the Royal Commission that she became concerned about her father’s wellbeing due to his weight loss, a pressure sore on his ankle, a toenail infection and unusual bruising.
“With dad being totally bedridden, it was unusual that he could actually do it to himself,” Ms Haulser told the Royal Commission.
After raising her concerns with management and being dissatisfied with the response, Ms Hausler installed hidden surveillance cameras in her father’s room.
The footage showed Mr Hausler having food forced into his mouth and being physically assaulted.
“I had no idea that someone could possibly do that. I felt for Dad in the fact that I didn’t protect him sufficiently,” she said.
Addressing the inquiry, Japara CEO and Managing Director Mark Sudholz was nearly in tears as he apologised to Ms Hausler, saying he was “disappointed we let you down”.
However, Mr Sudholz refuted claims there was a culture of abuse at Japara facilities.
“Across the 49 facilities and around 4,000 residents, the allegations of abuse that comes to being substantiated is less than 100 over four and a half years. I don’t believe that is systematic at all,” Mr Sudholz said.
The Royal Commission hearings in Perth will continue to focus on person-centred care, palliative care services and advance care planning—three areas common to around 1 in 3 submissions received by the Commission.