Home | News | Maggots found in man’s head at Eden aged care home

Maggots found in man’s head at Eden aged care home

An elderly resident at a NSW aged care facility has been hospitalised after maggots were found in his head.

The discovery comes months after Bupa’s Eden facility, on NSW’s far south coast, was sanctioned by the government because residents were at “immediate and severe risk”.

Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said it was “totally unacceptable and concerning” that the facility had a resident with maggots in a wound so quickly after it was inspected by the newly beefed-up regulator the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

“In this day and age, with all of the attention given to care being centred on individuals, we shouldn’t see this occurring,” Wyatt told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.

“I’m disappointed they’ve allowed this to happen.”

The discovery was made between February 26 and 28 and sparked an “urgent” request by government agencies for information from the facility, a commission spokesperson told AAP on Tuesday.

Bupa’s chief operating officer Carolyn Cooper apologised to the resident and his family.

“I have personally spoken to the family today and understand their disappointment,” she told AAP in a statement.

Results from government inspections show a decline in standards at the Eden facility over the past few years.

In 2013, the facility, which was then known as Eden Community Care, met all 44 of the accreditation standards.

Those standards remained intact in 2016 after Bupa began running the home.

But in August 2018 inspectors found five were no longer being met.

The commission significantly stepped up the schedule of unannounced visits in this time.

But conditions continued to deteriorate, and by November the government refused to sign off on 22 of the necessary standards.

The next month the commission reported “critical deficiencies at the service contributing to serious and detrimental failings” including in human resources, clinical care, medication management and health and personal care.

The facility was sanctioned with its Commonwealth funding stripped back. Bupa was ordered to recruit and train new staff to address the shortcomings.

The facility will remain under sanctions until June 7.

But this latest incident means investigators will again return to monitor the home, Mr Wyatt said.

The resident has since returned to the facility, and Cooper said immediate action had been taken to improve wound management and provide further training to staff.

But the government will continue to lobby the company on a “raft of matters” that make it clear the government is concerned, the minister said.

“Australia expects aged care providers to shape up and provide the level of care that is needed.”

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  1. Ian F. Burgess, MSc, MPhil, BSc, FRES, is director, Insect Research and Development Limited, Fulbourn, Cambridge:

    Facultative myiasis arises when flies opportunistically use wounds or chronic lesions as a site for their larvae. The larvae of most species involved usually develop in cadavers or decaying vegetable matter. There are no reliable figures for incidence of infestation of chronic lesions because many practitioners consider that it must indicate some breakdown of standards of care. However, invasion usually only occurs during hot weather (Burgess, 1991; Lukin, 1989). The flies generally lay their eggs on the outside of dressings and the tiny larvae make their way round or through the dressing to the tissues (Burgess, 1991).

    The shock of finding maggots in what was otherwise considered an adequately managed wound has often caused front-line carers to cover up the incident for fear of retribution. Such fears are not without grounds. In the past the author has advised in cases where nurses had been suspended from duty following such an incident, and in other cases where horrified clinicians had wanted to amputate affected digits unnecessarily. However, few people realise flies’ extraordinary ability to detect the odours emanating from necrotic conditions coupled with the speed of development of the eggs and larvae once in or on the tissues.

  2. Just another sad day for us working in aged care, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

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