The families of elderly people in Australian nursing homes have voiced their anger at the way aged care facilities are treating their loved ones.
Reporters from "A Current Affair" spoke to relatives of residents and industry whistleblowers about the standard of care at nursing homes across the country, with one woman claiming her father was underfed and mistreated.
Lorrina Page's dad, 91-year-old Leslie, was a resident at Marebello Aged Care in Queensland. She questioned the facility's lesion and wound care, as well as the substandard food.
"The food is disgusting, my father went in there as a small man and came out a skeleton," she stated.
"From the moment he went in there, it was nothing but hell. Never any help, no one there cared. In the end, Dad was pleading to die, he wanted to die to get out. And he did."
According to Lorrina, the aged care facility failed to alert her early enough that her father was dying. She said she arrived at the hospital where he was being treated within two minutes of his death.
Was Marebello care negligent?
The Page family lodged a complaint with the Aged Care Commissioner, who they argue largely ignored their concerns. Marebello was cleared of any wrongdoing, but the facility was told to improve its wound care.
The Aged Care Commissioner now believes the nursing home has put in place changes to ensure it is compliant with quality expectations.
However, the Pages are just one of many families who have lashed out at alleged negligence within the aged care sector in recent years. Nursing home abuse at the Oakden facility in South Australia led to a Senate inquiry and other probes that currently ongoing.
The news comes as a recent study revealed that 140 nursing home residents committed suicide in the country between 2000 and 2013.
Research from Monash University found 70 per cent of the people who took their own lives were male and 66 per cent had previously been diagnosed with depression.
Study authors question current care
Writing for the Conversation, the Monash University study authors said approximately half of aged care residents experience depression. This compares to between 10 and 15 per cent for individuals of a similar age living in the community.
"Most nursing home providers strive to provide safety and quality of care and lifestyle for their residents," said researchers Joseph Ibrahim and Briony Murphy.
"But it's clear the current approach to providing aged care isn't enough when it comes to preventing suicides."
Nursing homes owe a duty of care to their residents, which – if breached – could make them liable for any injuries or suffering that individuals experience.
If you or a loved one believes an aged care facility has been negligent, please contact an expert at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.