Granddad dies after alleged king-hit in aged care facility
A grandfather has died after being king-hit by another resident, then put into his nursing home bed with a broken neck, his family claims.
Robert Driver was allegedly knocked from his walker in an "unprovoked attack" at Bolton Clarke's Lake Macquarie aged care facility on August 20.
His daughter Julie-Anne Jones said the 89-year-old war veteran was not taken to hospital until the next day, when he complained of neck stiffness and difficulty breathing.
"My dad was transferred to hospital after his condition deteriorated and then on August 21 a scan revealed the punch had broken his neck," Mrs Jones told The Sunday Telegraph.
"My brother informed me that they didn't expect my dad to live as the break was in a critical position affecting his breathing.
"He was transferred back to the nursing home as there was nothing more that could be done for him in hospital."
Mr Driver, a former army lieutenant who also served in the RAAF, died on August 25.
Police are investigating.
Mrs Jones and her siblings fear their dad's "no-fuss" nature played a part in him being "denied the duty of care he deserved".
"That evening my father was hit from behind by another client of the dementia ward in a totally unprovoked and surprise attack," Mrs Jones said.
"I understand that as he fell, he hit his head …. I understand that Bolton Clarke did not call an ambulance but put my father to bed for the evening," Mrs Jones said.
"My father was the sort of man that would tell you he was OK even when he was not.
"Why was my father put to bed and not taken directly to hospital? Everyone knows if you have a concussion you do not lay down.
"We want accountability for this incident. This was totally preventable."
The family was angry to learn the care provider called the funeral director for removal of her father's body prior to the death certificate being signed or arranged.
"I understand that the funeral director would not remove the body. The doctor, who was asked to sign the death certificate, said that as my dad's death was a result of an assault that the police and the coroner needed to be involved and an autopsy would be needed."
The post-mortem revealed Mr Driver died from a cervical spinal injury.
"In the time between the attack and my father's death my brother Lance was informed that the person who hit my father was recently transferred from another facility and was known to be aggressive," she said.
Mrs Jones believes her family and the public have a right to know exactly what happened.
Mrs Jones has requested an incident report but was told that as the matter was an ongoing internal investigation and had been sent to the coroner, it would take time for the report to be made available.
On August 26 she also contacted the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and the NSW police detective assigned to the case.
She also has concerns for the man who assaulted her dad.
"What level of support did the other gentleman have in the dementia ward? Did he have one-on-one care?" she said.
"What training did the staff have in being able to identify aggressive behaviour? What was the ratio of staff on duty?
"We want to know what improvements will they put in place to ensure that this does not happen again to another family. This has been devastating and should never have happened to our father."
A NSW police spokesman confirmed officers from Lake Macquarie Police District were called to the aged care centre after a man was allegedly struck by another resident, causing him to fall.
"Police are waiting on the results of a post-mortem to determine the man's cause of death," the spokesman said.
Bolton Clarke chief operating officer David Swain said management was working with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and police "after responding to an incident in which a male resident struck another male resident at our Macquarie View residential aged care community".
"Both were residents of the special care dementia unit which provides care for residents with higher needs," Mr Swain said.
"Registered nurses are on site and available 24/7 and are supported by clinical teams. A staff member was present and responded immediately when the incident occurred."
Mr Swain said the resident was monitored closely and in consultation with the hospital, transferred for treatment when symptoms increased.
"He returned home to Bolton Point to receive ongoing care and support, before passing away."
Mr Swain said staff were deeply saddened by the events and thoughts were with the family.
"The male resident who exhibited aggressive behaviour was also taken to hospital for further assessment and has been permanently transferred to a different specialist centre for ongoing care."
Mr Swain said the organisation took it duty of care very seriously and had commissioned an independent medical expert review beyond legislative requirements, while continuing to work with the Commission and local authorities.
"Bolton Clarke will remain in close contact with the resident's family throughout the investigation."
Originally published as Granddad dies after alleged king-hit in aged care facility