When Susan Willmott got the call that her mother, Betty, had died suddenly in aged care, the nursing home operators said her body had been taken to the funeral home and her personal effects were ready for collection, The Australian reports.
When Ms Willmott arrived at the nursing home, she went to her mother’s room and opened her door. Her mother was still inside, dead on her bed. “I will never forget it as long as I live,” a sobbing Ms Willmott said on Monday.
“It was just horrible. She was lying there alone with the door shut and the airconditioner turned up high with this horrible infection in her foot. I just sat there for an hour with her and held her and I cried and cried.”
The discovery of her mother’s body was not the final indignity but one of several indignities in her family’s two-year search for justice about the treatment their mother endured at an Adelaide aged-care home, which cannot be named for legal reasons.
Ms Willmott and her brother believe the death of their previously healthy 87-year-old mother was hastened or caused by an infection in her foot that had not been properly dressed or treated.
Aged-care whistleblower Stewart Johnston said the most disturbing aspect of Ms Willmott’s campaign was what she had uncovered about inspections at her mother’s centre. Her mother died in December 2017, but it wasn’t until April this year that the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission did an unannounced audit of the centre, where only 21 of 44 relevant criteria were met.
Nursing home ‘left Mum to die alone with no family or friends’ (The Australian)
Betty and her husband, Ken Willmott.