Darwin and Cairns hearing to enquire into quality of care, quality of life

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will hold a public hearing in Darwin from Monday 8 July 2019 to Friday 12 July 2019 and in Cairns from Monday 15 July 2019 to Wednesday 17 July 2019.

The Royal Commission will inquire into quality of care and quality of life in aged care. At these hearings, the Royal Commission will focus on:

  • aspects of care in residential, home and flexible aged care programs, including:
  • accessibility and availability
  • wound care, medication and pain management
  • nutrition and hydration
  • continence care
  • mobility and falls risk
  • care for complex medical conditions such as kidney disease and diabetes
  • social supports
  • rural and regional issues for service delivery of aged care

The Royal Commission will hear from a range of witnesses, including those with personal experience, service providers, and experts.

It also will hear about tensions that exist in aged care when trying to provide high quality clinical care and at the same time promote quality of life in the home or in a home like environment.

The Royal Commission will hear directly from an Aboriginal elder in residential care in Darwin.

The Royal Commission will inquire into quality of care and quality of life provided to Shirley Fowler, a resident at IRT William Beach Gardens, the late Annunziata Santoro, who resided at Assisi Centre Ltd and the late Bertha Aalberts who resided at Avondrust Lodge, MiCare Ltd.

Ms Fowler's daughter, Lyndall Fowler, will tell the Royal Commission about the impacts of care for her mother's quality of life since 2013. After a very rapid deterioration, Ms Fowler will describe her mother's constant battle with pressure injuries, nutrition and contractures among other issues, and Ms Fowler's tireless efforts advocating for her mother's care.

Ms Santoro's daughter, Anamaria Ng, will tell the Royal Commission of her experience of her mother's care at Assisi Centre Ltd, and speak about her mother having falls 'on a regular basis, almost always at night'. Ms Ng is expected to give evidence on a serious pressure injury on her mother's heel.

Ms Aalberts' daughter, Johanna Aalberts-Henderson, will tell the Royal Commission that her mother walked into Avondrust Lodge with the assistance of a walker 'cognisant and continent' and died three months later. She will describe her concerns about a lack of qualified care staff at the home. As a result of an investigation into Avondrust's treatment of Ms Aalberts, the provider dramatically increased the nursing staff on duty at the home.

The Royal Commission will hear responses from each of IRT William Beach Gardens, Assisi Centre Ltd, and MiCare Ltd. The Royal Commission anticipates hearing from clinicians involved in the care of Ms Fowler, the late Ms Santoro and the late Ms Aalberts.

The Royal Commission will also hear from recipients of aged care, as well as direct accounts from family members in relation to their loved ones experiences.

Issues of wound care, nutrition, falls, medication management and communication will be explored with experts and people working in these areas.

The Royal Commission will also hear from a range of service providers and recipients regarding the delivery of quality care for older people in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

The Darwin hearing will commence at 9.45am local time on Monday 8 July 2019 and will be held at Supreme Court Building, State Square, Darwin. The Cairns hearing will begin at 10.00am local time on Monday 15 July 2019 and will be held at Cairns Convention Centre, corner of Sheridan and Wharf streets, Cairns.

For more information about the hearing please consult the Hearings page on our website.

Proceedings can be viewed or listened to using the webcast on the Royal Commission website. Hearing transcripts will also be available at the end of each hearing day.

Published on 5 July 2019.

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