Elderly residents were left starving, dehydrated and on the verge of death before being transported out of one of Melbourne’s most coronavirus-hit aged care homes, insiders claim.
St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner, in the city’s north, has been linked to 124 cases and 12 deaths.
Throughout the week all residents were taken to private hospitals with many being wheeled out on stretchers, leaving their precious belongings behind.
Details have since emerged about the condition of residents when they were transported as many were in dirty or soiled clothes and hadn’t eaten or drank anything all day.
Insiders have revealed some residents were found semi-conscious while others were suffering pneumonia and had very low oxygen levels, The Herald Sun reported.
St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner, in the city’s north has been linked to 124 cases and 12 deaths (pictured, a resident taken to hospital on Friday)
A body is removed from St Basil’s Aged Care in Melbourne on Friday (pictured) after coronavirus hit the home
‘They would have died if left like that for another 24 to 48 hours,’ a source told the publication.
‘Families are angry. Many didn’t know their relatives were COVID positive including one who died. They have been told nothing for weeks to months.’
The source said some hadn’t eaten or drank anything while others weren’t given much needed medication.
One elderly died shortly after the transfer while two residents with diabetes had extremely low blood sugar levels.
The residents were moved after six staff members tested positive to COVID-19.
One heartbroken family who lost their grandmother on Friday said they were concerned about her treatment before her death.
John Laruccia, the grandson of Nicolina Pingiaro, said he was told several times his grandmother was ‘doing fine’.
‘Every time I called the nursing home for an update on Nonna’s condition once being told she had tested positive, I was told that she was asymptomatic and ‘doing fine’,’ Mr Laruccia said.
Sources have revealed residents were taken from the facility in poor conditions with many starving and dehydrated (pictured hazardous waste is removed from St Basil’s this week)
The source said some hadn’t eaten or drank anything all day while others weren’t given much needed medication (pictured, a resident being removed on Friday)
Residents of the aged care home in Fawkner were all transported to private hospitals this week (pictured on Friday)
Adding to the chaos, a garbage bag full of coronavirus tests was reportedly left unattended at St Basil’s for six hours before being collected by a taxi.
St Basil’s chairman Konstantin Kontis was ‘horrified’ after learning the 200 tests were collected at 11pm – six hours after health staff left the facility, The Age reported.
Many of these tests were positive from residents and staff members.
The bag was labelled: ‘Urgent. Mass Nursing Home COVID collection. Process immediately and hand to Molecular staff.’
Melbourne Pathology Medical Director Ellen Maxwell said a taxi picked up the tests after the courier failed to do so, and they were analysed within the next two days.
‘There is no considered risk to patients, staff or public in the way these specimens were stored until and including in transport,’ she said.
Adding to the chaos, a garbage bag of coronavirus tests (pictured) were reportedly left unattended St Basil’s for six hours before being collected by a taxi
Mr Kontis questioned why the tests were picked up by a taxi driver to the Department of Health.
‘This level of delay … is completely unacceptable and shows that DHHS is incapable of managing this situation with the level of priority that it requires,’ he wrote in an email.
Staff at the facility were stood down when Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton ordered temporary workers to step in while the rest stayed home and isolated.
Meanwhile, residents at Epping Gardens Aged Care were left dead in their beds for up to six hours.
Staff at the nursing home were left struggling to care for as many as 14 patients each.
Harrowing scenes were captured outside the facility this week as heartbroken relatives begged health authorities to let them see their parents and grandparents.
Senior doctors and health sources told The Australian that several residents of Epping Gardens were left dead in their beds for hours on end this week.
Personnel from the Australian Defence Force were brought into the home to help staff weighed down by an influx of sick residents.
One doctor said the residents struck down with coronavirus were also suffering from dehydration, malnutrition and pneumonia.
On Saturday Victoria recorded 397 new COVID-19 cases with three deaths.
Epping Gardens Aged Care in the city’s north has had 90 COVID-19 infections and six residents have died (pictured: a body is carried out from Epping Gardens on Wednesday)
A distraught family member is seen outside the Epping Gardens nursing home in Melbourne (pictured on Tuesday)