Nursing home failing to protect staff from violent patient

Lyndoch Living aged care facility at Warrnambool is failing to provide a safe workplace for its staff.

  • Nurses injured
  • Hundreds of incident reports filed over one violent patient
  • Failure to provide occupational violence training and protections to staff, incl. Code Grey
  • Failure to provide a safe workplace
  • Staff to consider walkout, will meet with ANMF on Friday

Hundreds of incident reports involving a violent resident have been filed by staff working at Lyndoch Living aged care facility at Warrnambool.

One nurse recently had her shoulder injured by the resident and suffered severe stress and anxiety following the incident which has prevented her from returning to work.   

ANMF (Vic Branch) first raised its serious concerns with management in July 2014 over the number of assaults and the failure of Lyndoch Living to provide a safe workplace to its staff.

The facility had failed to action appropriate responses to numerous incident reports and had also failed to implement government policy which requires appropriate security responses to occupational violence and aggression including Code Grey.

After ANMF raised these issues in July, Lyndoch Living reported that the Department of Health was providing additional funding for special one-on-one direct care services, 24 hours 7 days per week for the resident at the centre of violent and aggressive incidents.

ANMF (Vic Branch) has reason to believe the staffing arrangement has now ceased due to the significant increase in the number of serious violent incidents being reported to the Branch.

ANMF (Vic Branch) Assistant Secretary Paul Gilbert said the Branch will advise staff to cease work should the awaited response from Lyndoch Living fail to protect them from immediate risk to their health and safety.

‘According to our members there have been over 500 incident reports made about this one resident  at Lyndoch Living,’ Mr Gilbert said.

‘This resident is physically imposing in stature and, while sound of mind, has a history of bad behaviour.

‘We have reason to believe that Lyndoch Living has ceased the interventions put in place to provide appropriate 24 hour care to the resident and has done so without consultation with staff, or the ANMF.

‘Our requests for copies of occupational violence and aggression policies continue to be ignored by management of Lyndoch Living.

‘They have refused to set up an occupational violence and aggression working party, provide occupational violence and aggression training to their staff and have not implemented a Code Grey security response into their operations.

‘Perhaps most alarming is that Lyndoch Living has failed to provide any support to the employees who have been involved in these incidents.

‘Lyndoch Living has a legal obligation to provide a safe workplace and, despite hundreds of warnings, they appear unwilling to meet this most basic requirement.’

ANMF is seeking the following information from Lyndoch Living:

  • Confirmation that direct 1:1 care continues to be provided by Lyndoch Living in respect to the resident, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Confirmation that such care continues to be funded by the Department of Health
  • If direct 1:1 care is no longer being provided, ANMF seeks an explanation to fully understand the decision
  • ANMF also requires details of consultation with affected staff members as per requirements under section 35 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
  • Details of support provided to the nurse/s directly involved, as well as those who witnessed or have been otherwise affected by violent incidents
  • Details on information and support provided to the nurse/s involved in relation to reporting the incident to the police, and the potential pressing of charges.

ANMF understands that the resident in question was previously located in Ballarat in a facility in which she was the only patient. It is understood she was moved to Lyndoch Living due to occupational violence and aggression issues in her previous facility and also to be closer to family members who reside in the area.

ANMF will meet with its members from Lyndoch Living aged care facility on Friday 26 September at 1pm in Warrnambool.