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EXCLUSIVE | Wheelchair-bound man catches fire in nursing home after being left unattended

Macquarie National News

A 56-year-old wheelchair-bound man has died after catching fire at a nursing home on the NSW Mid North Coast. 

Kenneth Andrews Seach was found with his clothing alight in the smoking area of the Estia Health aged-care home at Tuncurry on August 26.

He was airlifted to Concord Hospital with significant burns to 60 per cent his body and died the following day.

The Coroner is still investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr Seach’s death.

But the man’s cousin has contacted 2GB, revealing he suffered regular falls, one as recently as two days before the incident.

She is questioning why the man was left unattended in the outside area of the facility.

The government’s Aged Care Complaints Commissioner is also looking into the matter over concerns the facility, “failed to recognised Mr Seach’s increased falls risk” and failed to “implement adequate falls prevention strategies”.

In a leaked email, the department also expressed concerns Estia Health didn’t “adequately supervise Mr Seach who required assistance to open doors” because he was in a wheelchair.

In a statement to 2GB, Estia Health has confirmed the incident and expressed its deepest sympathies to Mr Seach’s family.

But, the organisation says it, “will not be making further comment”.


Full statement from Estia Health

“Estia Health (‘Estia”) confirms a fire involving a resident occurred at its Tuncurry home on Sunday evening, 26 August 2018. Estia also confirms that this resident passed away at Concord Hospital the following day.

Estia expresses its deepest sympathy and ongoing support for the family of the resident and our thoughts remain with them.

Estia also recognises this was a traumatic event for the staff and other residents at the home, and we continue to provide support to them.

This matter is currently before the Coroner and Estia will not be making further comment.”

Macquarie National News