A DAUGHTER suspicious about her elderly father’s care installed a hidden camera in his bedroom and was shocked to discover he was abused by an employee at one of Australia’s biggest aged care providers.
The video showed Corey Lucas force-feeding 89-year-old Clarence Hausler, grabbing his arms and holding a large napkin over his face while twisting his nose with force.
Noleen Hausler filmed the humiliating abuse of her dementia-affected father in September 2015 at Mitcham Residential Care Facility in Adelaide, operated by Japara Healthcare.
She provided the footage to police and Lucas was later jailed over the assault.
Ms Hausler shared her late father’s story as part of a case study at the aged care royal commission in Perth on Monday.
“Being confronted with the visual images, I went into a state of shock and total concern for Father,” she said in her statement.
“My heart was racing (and) my hands were shaking.”
Mr Hausler repeatedly cried as she gave evidence at the hearing about her father, who spent about 13 years at the 38-bed facility.
In the space of eight days, he was physically assaulted twice by Lucas and once by an agency employee.
“I had no idea that someone could possibly do that. I felt for dad in the fact that I didn’t protect him sufficiently,” Ms Hausler said.
She had complained to the facility about her father’s abuse and the commission is examining whether Japara prioritised its own corporate interests and reputation over person-centred care.
Ms Hausler said while some staff at Japara were dedicated and compassionate, the provider had a “profit-driven attitude”.
“I believe that my father’s quality of life suffered as a direct result of management’s culture,” she said.
“Everyone’s voice must be heard and respected regardless of being verbal, non-verbal, advocated, evidenced or witnessed.
“I believe extremely vulnerable loved ones in care, who mirror my father’s diminished capacity to speak or defend themselves, deserve additional protection in their private rooms.”
Commissioner Richard Tracey thanked Ms Hausler for sharing her “terrible experiences” to assist the commission.
“It has certainly improved our understanding of some lack of care that occurs from time to time in this area of aged care,” he said.