"Concerned with basic hygiene at Barwidgee Lodge."

About: Barwidgee Lodge

(as a relative),

1. The staff seemed consistently rude and what I thought was less than could be considered professional when questioned about care by the family.

2. Although the family had supplied suitable clothing, it seemed that staff frequently dressed Mum inappropriately, and what I thought as compromising her dignity and comfort. This has been communicated to staff when observed along with practical advice on application of garments to what seemed no avail.

3. I spoke with the unit manager regarding my mother’s care, specifically the use of the “stand up” lifter causing shearing to the front of Mums shins. I suggested padding the front of the lifter to remediate this. The Staff indicated that a physiotherapist assessment had been booked to address these issues. I requested to be present at the appointment to assess any recommendations presented which was acknowledged. The assessment took place and I was informed after the fact, in contradiction to my request. This is one example of the ongoing seemingly exclusion by the staff to participate decision making regarding Mum’s care by the family. A sling lifter was implemented without consultation with the family and it seemed to again be a case of compromising her dignity and further diminishing her mobility.

4. I expressed my concern that it seemed to me that Mum was being left in the wheelchair / Princess chair for excessive periods without change in position. This is what I believe presented as visible pressure sores. I believe this was remediated in this instance although I think shows lack of basic nursing care and should not have occurred. This periodically re-occurs and is I believe unacceptable at any time.

5. An OT assessment was performed at the family’s request due to concerns re Mum’s deteriorating physical condition including footdrop (which was not present when admitted in 2010) and complete lack of mobility. The resultant report was I believe provided to the unit manager and copied to myself. The recommendations did not seem to be implemented re footdrop and inappropriate princess chair. The princess chair was documented within the OT report as faulty. The Unit Manager indicated that Mum would have to remain in bed after afternoon rest as there was no other chair available.

6. Following the OT assessment, a physiotherapist was engaged with I believe a recommendation of deployment of a footroll whilst in bed. This did not seem to be implemented by the staff contrary to the professional recommendation. In addition, I believe a tilt-in-space wheelchair was recommended as being appropriate for Mum by the physiotherapist. The family presented and supplied numerous options as recommended, all of which appeared vetoed by staff and the OH&S representative, without what appeared to me to be a valid reason or appropriate alternative.

7. On numerous occasions, I did not see afternoon tea provided to Mum. On discussion with the kitchen staff, it was assumed that my Father had supplied and supervised the tea. It should not be assumed that my Father is the primary care provider for basic nutrition and hydration. My Father was present to supplement the expected level of care provided to Mum, not to be sole provider and supervisor.

8. It is observed as an ongoing issue that unresolved wounds are continuing, aided I think by incorrect application of dressings and pressure bandages.

9. My Mum was commenced on a course of antibiotics for wound infection of the shins, three days after being highlighted to the charge nurse.

10. Mum's deteriorating condition and associated concerns as covered in the previous points was discussed with the Unit Manger including the delay in commencement of antibiotics. It was also communicated to the RND1 by my Sister that a rash was present.

11. My Sister received a phone call and then informed me that Mum’s antibiotic course had been discontinued by the attending doctor. I was further informed that Mum had been given an antihistamine. My Sister told me that she had informed the caller that Mum was allergic to antihistamine.

As can be seen from our extensive list above, the families basic concern had been Basic Hygiene, Wound and Infection control, mobility, and their impacts on our mothers quality of life and finally the only thing remaining, her dignity.

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