A 70 year old grandmother has allegedly been assaulted by a male nurse at her aged care facility.
Lynette Lee was left with a black, swollen eye and bruised left hand after a male nurse hit her a cup of hot Milo.
The facility, located in the Northern suburbs of Adelaide, contacted the police regarding the incident and officers arrived at the facility the very next day.
Lynette’s daughter, Belinda, was informed of the incident 12 hours afterwards when a supervisor called her.
“I thought she had died because the supervisor was really uncomfortable to tell me something and he asked if I was coming in,” she said.
“He still took ages to spit it out, then he said that one of the nurses had assaulted my mother. That’s exactly what he said but now they’re backtracking,” she alleged.
“[My mother] said the first hit was the worst, she put her hand up and the second hit must have hit her hand because she’s got bruising at the top of her fingers.”
The nurse alleges that Lynette hit herself in the face with the table when she went went to reach for her beverage.
The male nurse was allegedly cleared in an internal investigation and was allowed to return to work, however was suspended for the duration of the police investigation.
In a statement to media, the facility “confirms that investigations are underway at [the facility] in South Australia following an allegation of physical assault against a resident”.
“They contacted local police as soon as it became aware of the matter and is co-operating fully with police.”
“The staff member has been suspended, and will not return to work until the investigations are completed.”
Belinda has lodged a complaint with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
Cameras in Aged Care Facilities: Security Measure or Invasion of Privacy?
This recent assault is not the first of it’s kind in an aged care setting. And in recent times, there are more and more media reports of such incidents happening.
But what measures can be taken to ensure more incidents like this do not happen in the future?
One frequent suggestion has been the installation of security cameras in private rooms – however, it’s been suggested that this may invade the privacy of residents and staff.
Last year, a hidden camera in an Adelaide nursing home has captured footage of a staff member appearing to attempt to suffocate an 89-year-old man.
The camera was installed by the man’s daughter who suspected that her father’s bruises were a result of elder abuse from the aged care staff.
Her footage definitively showed that the staff were indeed causing harm to her father, however, the facility, in a surprising move, forbid the daughter from any further recordings.
In an attempt to ensure her father’s safety, the concerned daughter had breached the Privacy Act, the Aged Care Act and Video Surveillance Act.
However, without that footage, there would not have been enough evidence to criminally charge the assailant.
Not only would security cameras catch assailants in the act, but they would also act as a preventative measure against abuse – suggesting that staff may think twice about their behaviour if they knew they were being watched at all times.
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