Aged care staff stood down, police called

 

A memo sent to relatives of residents at a nursing home in Melbourne's north reveals staff were stood down for an "extremely serious breach" amid an outbreak of coronavirus cases.

The memo, seen by news.com.au, was sent by management at the Epping Gardens aged care facility on Monday night where there have been 83 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and five deaths.

Management said police had to be called after it emerged that staff held a get-together on the property.

"A small number of staff chose to have a private function at Epping Gardens," the memo reads.

"All staff members involved were stood down immediately when they were alerted. It is important to state that we did not endorse this activity, nor were we aware this was organised.

"We consider this to be an extremely serious breach of (manager) Heritage Care's expectations.

Epping Gardens residents were being evacuated by ambulance on Tuesday. Picture: Tony Gough
Epping Gardens residents were being evacuated by ambulance on Tuesday. Picture: Tony Gough

 

The military set up tents outside Epping Gardens. Picture: Tony Gough
The military set up tents outside Epping Gardens. Picture: Tony Gough

 

"We disclosed this information to the Department … and police as soon as we were informed."

The memo also revealed that management "advocated for residents to be transferred to hospital" but "unfortunately this was opposed by the Department of Aged Care and Safety Commission".

"This was not us abrogating our responsibilities," the memo reads. "It is us wanting the best outcomes for our residents."

ADF personnel have been sent in to help with the situation at aged care facilities across Melbourne, including Epping Gardens. Pictures showed military tents being erected outside the facility on Tuesday night.

Residents were being evacuated to hospitals throughout the day on Tuesday as family members struggled to get up-to-date information about loved ones.

Many were camped outside, demanding they get to see their relatives.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, commenting on the unfolding crisis at aged care homes in Melbourne, told reporters on Tuesday: "Some of the stories we've seen are unacceptable and I wouldn't want my mum in some of those places.

"I would not let my mum be in some of these places. I just wouldn't.

"But that's not a decision I have to make at the moment because she's living at home and she's very happy to be at home. 

 

Family members were demanding so see relatives on Tuesday. Picture: Nicki Connolly
Family members were demanding so see relatives on Tuesday. Picture: Nicki Connolly

 

A resident of Epping Gardens is taken away in an ambulance on July 28, 2020. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
A resident of Epping Gardens is taken away in an ambulance on July 28, 2020. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

 

"And if she's watching this, she'll be very angry that I'm even contemplating the notion of her going into residential aged care."

There are 769 active cases linked to aged-care homes. A family member of an elderly man who died from COVID-19 at St Basil's Home for the Aged in Fawkner - where there are more than 80 active cases - told news.com.au they have "no answers or clarity surrounding his death".

"After having tested positive to COVID-19 on Monday … we were told he was showing no symptoms and was fine, even up until 10pm on Thursday night, two hours before he died," the relative said.

"We bury him tomorrow, with no answers or clarity surrounding his death. We can't even get a call back."

The management of the situation in aged care has led to a bitter blame game between Mr Andrews and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Do you have a loved one in aged care in Victoria. Get in touch via email: rohan.smith1@news.com.au

 

Originally published as Aged care staff stood down, police called


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