‘Her dignity was stripped’: Newmarch House resident forced to urinate in bin
Despite government intervention, a family member of a Newmarch House resident has revealed horrible conditions caused by understaffing are continuing.
42 residents and staff at Anglicare Newmarch House aged care facility near Penrith have tested positive with coronavirus, and four residents have died, after a worker came to work while infected.
A 79-year-old woman is the most recent victim, passing away early this morning.
Health Minister Greg Hunt told Deborah Knight yesterday the federal government had stepped in, providing the facility with an “emergency capability” of additional to ensure the virus is controlled without leaving the vulnerable isolated.
However, listener Savannah – whose 92-year-old grandmother is a Newmarch House resident – says the situation hasn’t improved.
“It was a big turning point we thought … and even in the evening we had a really fantastic update from a nurse that was quite thorough,” she told Deborah Knight.
“Unfortunately today it hasn’t played out that way.
“This morning I received a very distressing phone call.
“From 7am my grandmother woke up, and needed to use the bathroom … but her bathroom door had somehow been locked overnight.”
After several failed attempts to get help, dehydrated and desperate, Savannah’s grandmother resorted to using a garbage bin to empty her bladder.
“Her dignity was stripped.
“You can imagine the sheer horror that our whole family felt at hearing that story.”
Residents are still being refused showers, Savannah added, as an infection control measure. Her grandmother’s room has gone uncleaned for almost a week, and while she doesn’t want to blame the overworked facility, she says more extra staff are urgently needed.
In a statement, Anglicare say Newmarch House is still operating with just two-thirds of their required staff.
“Because of the need to dress in full personal protective equipment (PPE), continue our stringent hygiene regime, and maintain social isolation while providing care it takes our staff at least five times longer to deliver the care our residents and their families expect.” (See full statement below).
“I really hope it’s just a glitch,” Savannah said, “and the lip service that was being given can turn into action.”
Click PLAY below to hear the full interview
Full statement from Anglicare:
The staff shortage at Anglicare’s Newmarch House continued yesterday with at least one-third of the staffing needs still to be met despite the efforts of Anglicare, third party staffing agencies and the Commonwealth Government.
Because of the need to dress in full personal protective equipment (PPE), continue our stringent hygiene regime, and maintain social isolation while providing care it takes our staff at least five times longer to deliver the care our residents and their families expect.
We welcome the ongoing feedback from families and the fact that they have highlighted these issues.
“We appreciate and understand why families are upset, frustrated and disappointed,” said Grant Millard, CEO of Anglicare Sydney.
We have organised a Webinar later today with families of our residents as well as representatives from the Department of Health.
“This will be an opportunity for families to hear what we are doing jointly to get on top of this crisis,” said Grant.
We are working closely with the Commonwealth Government. We are speaking to them constantly so they can give us the support we need, including supplying well trained staff and personal protective equipment (PPE), and ensure steps are taken to support the Aged Care Sector more broadly during the COVID-19 pandemic.