Alex Dapontes (right) with her mother Martha Dapontes.
Alex Dapontes (right) with her mother Martha Dapontes.

Grandma bashed in nursing home for 'speaking loudly'

A GRANDMOTHER was left with broken bones after a fellow resident in an up-market nursing homeattacked her for "speaking loudly''.

Martha Dapontes suffered more injuries when staff found her on the floor after three "unwitnessed falls'' that left her with broken ribs.

St Vincent's Care Services at Mitchelton has installed surveillance cameras in the wake of the attack, which is under investigation by the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

The woman's daughter, Alexandra Dapontes, said yesterday her 80-year-old mother had been terrified after a man with dementia attacked her the morning after she moved into the home.

"Mum was really traumatised,'' Ms Dapontes told The Courier-Mail yesterday. "They weren't watching out for her.''

Daughter Alex Dapontes. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP
Daughter Alex Dapontes. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP

Hospital records reveal that Ms Dapontes's breastbone was fractured, and an autopsy report showed she suffered three broken ribs during her short stay at the nursing home last year.

Ms Dapontes died a month after the assault, from a perforated bowel which the autopsy found to be unrelated.

In a draft decision issued last week, the Complaints Commissioner said that nursing home records "confirm your mother was pushed to the ground by another resident after she was speaking loudly and in very close proximity to him''.

"The service acknowledged your mother was pushed on August 11, 2017 by a male resident of the dementia ward,'' it states.

"In response to the incident Mrs Dapontes and the alleged offender were separated prior to Mrs Dapontes' transfer to hospital at the family's request.''

Martha Dapontes following an “unwitnessed fall’’ at St Vincent’s nursing home in Mitchelton.
Martha Dapontes following an “unwitnessed fall’’ at St Vincent’s nursing home in Mitchelton.

The commissioner said the nursing home had taken "appropriate action'' and did not have to report the assault to police.

Under federal law, aged care homes do not report assaults by residents with a "mental impairment'', but must "manage'' their behaviour.

Mrs Dapontes' daughter called police, who visited the nursing home but have not laid charges over the assault.

The Complaints Commissioner's draft finding says St Vincent's staff found Mrs Dapontes on the floor three times in the week after the attack, and reasonably documented "unwitnessed falls''.

But Ms Dapontes said yesterday her mother had told her she had been "hit all over''.

"They didn't see what happened so how can they say it was an unwitnessed fall?'' she said.

"My mother worked in catering at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital for 25 years and she was super fit - she never had a fall in her life.''

St Vincent’s Care Services in Mitchelton. Picture: John Gass/AAP
St Vincent’s Care Services in Mitchelton. Picture: John Gass/AAP

St Vincent's Care Services chief executive John Leahy said that "standards of care and safety in this facility are second-to-none''.

He said Ms Dapontes' "unwitnessed falls occurred during the day when she and the male resident were in separate areas of the building''.

"Since the incident in question, CCTV has been installed across all public areas of the facility,'' he said

"All residents with potential behavioural issues receive a psychological assessment.

"Although all steps are taken to prevent and minimise falls, unfortunately they can occur as residents are not restrained physically and mobility is encouraged when appropriate.''

The Mitchelton home opened in 2016 in a restored monastery and charges residents a $550,000 bond, or a $603 per week fee, for a room in its dementia wing.

 

 

St Vincent’s Care Services in Mitchelton. Picture: John Gass/AAP
St Vincent’s Care Services in Mitchelton. Picture: John Gass/AAP

 

Martha Dapontes.
Martha Dapontes.


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