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Communication Fail


There was a story in the news today about a fire that killed 14 people at the Quakers Hill Nursing Home in Sydney's north-west in 2011.  

Dean, a former nurse, was sentenced to life in prison after starting the fire. 

An inquest has heard he was an unsupervised registered nurse in charge of a night shift when he deliberately started the fire.  He also had a chequered work history and pattern of aggressive behaviour.

This is tragic.  What happened at this nursing home could have been prevented.

But even more tragic is the behaviour of the management of the nursing home AFTER the fire.

Robert Johnson, the former general manager of the Domain Principal Group, now known as Opal Aged Care was questioned about claims many residents' families found out about the early morning fire through media reports before they were called by nursing home officials.

Some residents' family members walked out of the public gallery, visibly upset, after the inquest heard descriptions about how the belongings of residents were returned.

Mr Johnson conceded that after belongings were "cleaned and bagged", some were left at a church hall to be collected.

Some were also left on verandahs and under car ports, the inquest was told. 

It heard some relatives received a cheque from the nursing home after the fire, but had no personal contact with anyone from management.  

Now I don't know about you but human decency says that if you are in charge of taking care of people and something happens while they are in your care – you go above and beyond to ensure the relatives and the patients receive tender, loving care.

What kind of thinking says it's okay to leave the belongings of people on their relative's doorsteps?  These are people who have perished in a fire, a deliberate act of murder, for most of the victims they would not have been able to move.

And it was done by someone in your employ.  

No communication with the relatives of the victims seems to me to be a deliberate act of cruelty.  Is this the way of corporate aged care?  If it seems there will be a liability – say nothing and do nothing?

This deserves to be noticed and held up for public scrutiny.   

This is not how I want the carers of my parents, relatives or friends to behave.

This is not how kind, caring and considerate humans behave.

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