KEEPS GETTING WORSE: Ross Piper and Roslyn Staveley are out of patience with the at-home care providers in charge of looking after Roslyn's 96-year-old mother Betty.
KEEPS GETTING WORSE: Ross Piper and Roslyn Staveley are out of patience with the at-home care providers in charge of looking after Roslyn's 96-year-old mother Betty. Renee Albrecht

Glenwood woman raises shock local aged care concerns

A GLENWOOD woman has come forward with concerns about the quality of at-home care being provided to her 96-year-old mother.

Roslyn Staveley, 58, noticed almost immediate deviations from the daily care provisions required and agreed upon for her mother Betty after relocating to Glenwood in December 2015, but said the situation deteriorated even further when RSL Care officially merged with the Royal District Nursing Service to become Bolton Clarke last year.

Ms Staveley, who receives full-time care herself from independent nurse Ross Piper, said a myriad of "stressful" incidents caused by Bolton Clarke nurses and administration staff had left her family in a "horrible" position.

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"On our very first day off the property for a respite, I received a call from (Bolton Clarke) telling me Mum had had a fall but she was 'fine'," Ms Staveley said.

"After the (fall) she was in her wheelie walker on her own and unassisted by the care worker."

Among Ms Staveley's other complaints included repeated cases of nurses arriving late or not at all due to "lack of staff", resulting in "exhausting" requests for Mr Piper to provide extra care for her mother, along with "rude" and "abusive" "conference calls" with admin officers following up her complaints.

Ms Staveley said one nurse "rushed" a morning service and had Betty "out of breath for three or four hours", but another carer's failure to make her mother's bed caused her "extreme stress and agitation" around three weeks ago and proved the "final straw".

 

Aged care issue Ross Piper and  Roslyn Staveley in Gympie.
Aged care issue Ross Piper and Roslyn Staveley in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

"To see my Mum getting these emotional upsets, she's thinking she's causing more work for me. It just escalates and it keeps getting worse," Ms Staveley said.

"This is supposed to make my Mum's life better. I promised her she wouldn't go to a nursing home unless I couldn't cope.

"We cope really well as long as there's a bit of help and no stress, but this stress is just too much."

The Department of Veterans Affairs, through which Betty holds a 'Gold Card' and gets "access to treatment for all medical conditions", refused to comment on "individual matters for privacy reasons".

A DVA spokesperson said the department took "complaints about its service providers seriously and has processes in place for investigating and resolving complaints".

Bolton Clarke Executive General Manager of Operating Performance Jim Toohey confirmed they had been providing services to Betty through DVA programs "over a number of years".

"We encourage anyone who has concerns about quality of care to be in contact with us directly or via the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner," Mr Toohey said.

"Through our comprehensive internal quality audit system we are committed to investigating and responding to all complaints.

"Bolton Clarke has a longstanding history of providing trusted and well-respected community and nursing care in the Gympie area and is fully resourced to support the needs of the local community.

"In respect of Mrs Staveley, as with all our Gympie clients there has been uninterrupted delivery of nursing and home care since RSL Care and RDNS took on the new name of Bolton Clarke last year.

"In regard to the specific claims made about service delivery, we remain in constant and ongoing contact with care recipients and in this case, the family carers and we promote an environment that encourages clients to provide feedback freely. We have a clear set of standards and well-defined processes to ensure that issues are documented and addressed.

"As part of our agreement with DVA we also have monthly one-on-one reviews with DVA clients, including Mrs Staveley, about our services and client satisfaction levels. These review channels, in addition to regular client contact, provide further opportunity to raise and document any feedback. Our documented reviews with Mrs Staveley have consistently demonstrated satisfaction with care services provided.

"Our clinical and care workers operate to a code of conduct that covers appropriate, professional and respectful behaviours."