Relatives discovered maggots wriggling around inside the mouth of an elderly dementia patient at an aged care home in Western Australia, while the larva were also found in the open wound of another resident.
The harrowing details were aired during a hearing in Broome, WA, on Tuesday as the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety continues, reports the Daily Mail.
A 62-year-old palliative care patient, unable to walk or talk, was found with maggots inside her mouth, while the loved ones of a respite client found maggots inside that individual’s wound.
Rejane Le Grange, acting business manager of Germanus Kent House and Bran Nue Dae Day Community Centre in Broome, was questioned about both incidents during yesterday’s hearing, despite the fact she had been working in Perth at the time of the incidents.
“The resident had poor ability to chew so there was food pooling and moisture pooling in her mouth, which would have created an ideal environment,” she told the hearing.
Le Grange also said that palliative care patients who want to lie in beds outside now have netting to protect them from insects, while adjustable screens are being used to keep patients free from flies whilst having their wounds dressed.
The hearing also heard from Royal Flying Doctor Service chief executive Martin Laverty who claimed that Australia’s health care system is failing older people who live in remote areas, with limited access to resources and services, reports the Mail.
Laverty added that people in remote areas have much higher rates of avoidable hospital admissions, reflecting poor access to health professionals.
“The longer you are able to maintain your health through access to adequate primary care, the longer you are likely to avoid the necessity of access to the formal aged care setting,” he said.
“We are letting older Australians down by a failure of the primary medical care system in remote Australia. The commission has an opportunity to articulate a reasonable standard. It then requires resourcing.”
The royal commission continued today as the final Broome hearing took place at the local civic centre,