The daughter of an elderly man who was assaulted by staff at a nursing home has spoken out about the “terrible” abuse her late father endured during a hearing into the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Speaking at a hearing in Perth yesterday, Noleen Hausler recalled the moment she caught a nursing home carer attempting to suffocate her then 89-year-old dad Clarence after setting up hidden cameras in his room.
Clarence was suffering from end-stage dementia which had left him unable to walk or talk, with no way of protecting himself from the shocking treatment.
Now, years later, Hausler has shared further details about the events which saw carer Corey Lyle Lucas force feed her father violently, as well as eating his food, sneezing on him, flicking his nose and pinning him down as he tried to fight back.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Hausler described the situation as “terrible” and said she had “no idea that someone could possibly do that”, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
“I felt for dad in the fact that I didn’t protect him sufficiently,” she told the court.
Reading out a message to the commission the daughter called for more registered nurses and trained registered carers in nursing homes, along with CCTV in facilities to ensure protection of patients.
Later outside court she claimed to reporters that it was a “no brainer” to have cameras installed, considering the amount of patients who have been abused by carers.
“[It’s] very much a widespread problem in the sector for the fact that it happens all behind closed doors,” she told AAP according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“These are the most vulnerable people that it’s been happening to – they can’t speak, they can’t raise the alarm.”
Noleen took it upon herself to install cameras and find answers after noticing some bruises on her father. Speaking to the ABC back in 2016 the daughter said she was suspicious of a certain staff member and thought her concerns weren’t being listened to.
“I thought long and hard about how I could actually get the evidence and the only way I could do that was to put in a video camera and film what was going on,” she told the national broadcaster in an interview, which she later shared on YouTube.
Noleen decided to hide a small video camera in the corner of her father’s private care room, which is when she discovered the extent of the mistreatment.
In the video, carer Corey Lyle Lucas appears to force feed Clarence violently, eat Clarence’s food, sneeze on him, flick his nose and held him down when Clarence fought back. The video also showed Corey apparently trying to suffocate Clarence with a napkin, holding it over the vulnerable man’s mouth.
“I honestly didn’t know what to do at first. I thought about ringing the facility because I was scared for my father’s safety but I thought that I wouldn’t do that, and I knew that this was very serious so I went down to the Sturt police station,” Noleen told the ABC.
The carer was arrested for abuse but was not fired from his position at Mitcham Residential Care, South Australia, instead he chose to resign. Lucas pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault in 2016 and was handed a six-month jail sentence, with one month imprisonment.