Daughter slams Southern Cross Care’s treatment of Tasmanian man in aged care home

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  • In short: Southern Cross Care Tasmania has apologised for a litany of issues in the care of John Daun, as his daughter blames staffing levels
  • What’s next? Southern Cross Care Tasmania was criticised by the aged care royal commission but MP Andrew Wilkie worries the provider is not learning its lesson

The week after Melissa Daun’s father John passed away, his aged care home sent a sympathy card to her.

She sent it back.

John Daun had been living at Southern Cross Care (SCC) Tasmania’s Rivulet aged care facility, in Hobart, for two years, and in that time the provider had made repeated apologies to Ms Daun for a litany of errors in her father’s care.

An older man poses with his adult daughter.

John Daun, with daughter Melissa.(Supplied: Daun family)

She said her father had suffered three falls at the facility, including when he tried to take himself to the toilet after waiting too long for assistance.

She also said he had an overflowing sharps container left in his room, had his medication stored incorrectly, and had no pillow slip for several days with a wound at the back of his head following surgery for brain cancer.

There was also a significant delay in administering to him the pain relief drug Midazolam on the day of his death in November last year.

In correspondence seen by the ABC, SCC made admissions and apologised in relation to these incidents.

Mr Daun died five days after contracting COVID-19 at the facility.

His daughter Daun put many of the problems her father faced down to understaffing.

“There was a huge turnover of staff, and issues with consistency of care, and being able to maintain that dignity,” Ms Daun said.

John Daun pictured in an aged care facility.

John Daun lived at Southern Cross Care’s Rivulet site in South Hobart after being diagnosed with brain cancer.(Supplied: Daun family)

After his death, a facility manager — the third person in the position in less than a year — emailed Ms Daun to say he was “very sorry for your experience with Southern Cross Care over the period John was admitted here”.

Ms Daun said that the apologies had never seemed to result in improvements in his care.

“You sort of feel like you’re banging your head against a wall,” she said.

“The week after Dad passed, I received a card of sympathy from the facility. I sent it straight back. I’m hoping no other families go through the stress my family did.”

Overflowing sharps container with a syringe poking out the top.

John Daun’s family found an overflowing sharps container in his room at Rosary Gardens Nursing Home, prompting an apology from Southern Cross Care(Supplied: Daun family)

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