aged care worker tells of trauma after patient allegedly killed fellow resident royal commission

Aged care worker tells of trauma after patient allegedly killed fellow resident: royal commission


A NSW aged care worker has told an inquiry of the abuse, assaults and trauma she experienced while working at the facility.

Kathryn Nobes on Wednesday told the aged care royal commission she herself had been abused and assaulted at the aged care home where she’s worked since late 2015.

“I have received blows, kicks, head butts, twisting of the skin on my arms, grabbing and squeezing of my hands and arms, attacks with faeces, verbal abuse and threats,” Ms Nobes told the commission sitting in Sydney.

The 62-year-old was on shift when a male resident who was known to be violent allegedly killed another resident.

Before Ms Nobes learnt of the death, she saw the male resident with a walking stick in his hand “holding it like a club”. There was blood on his knees.

“He was staring intensely into space and his body was very rigid,” the aged care worker said.

Ms Nobes told the commission she’d been diagnosed with PTSD after the incident and believes her condition was aggravated because the facility made it difficult for her to talk to police.

One of the most disturbing assaults Ms Nobes experienced herself involved a male resident putting his hands in his faeces and punching her in the breast.

“I ended up with his faeces all over my shirt,” she told the commission.

Ms Nobes documented the assaults and advised her supervisors who, she said, generally “shrugged their shoulders” and said, “that’s dementia”.

“You were just sort of expected to deal with it,” she said.

Ms Nobes, who works part-time at the facility which can’t be named for legal reasons, said conditions there had a serious impact on the quality of care and the safety of residents and staff.

She believes staff working with residents who have dementia need better training on how to de-escalate dangerous situations.

The commission on Wednesday heard the staff at the facility were struggling with huge workloads.

“I don’t know what the answer is … usually the problem is solved when the resident dies or they become bed-bound,” Ms Nobes said.

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