National

Abuse claims aired at Earle Haven inquiry

By AAP Newswire

The nurse whose call for help sparked a full-scale disaster response at a Gold Coast aged care facility also reported allegations of elder abuse to police.

The complaints were levelled against three staff members, a parliamentary inquiry into the Earle Haven age care home has heard.

Telecia Tuccori, the former clinical manager of the Earle Haven age care home, said the home had a zero tolerance policy and staff were stood down as a result of the complaints.

However police found the allegations - which involved one allegation of physical abuse - did not require charges or any further investigation.

The hearing was also told a report weeks before the closure had found physical restraints were used on 50 per cent of patients.

Ms Tuccori said it was appropriate that physical restraints were used because most were bed rails or lap tables.

She said they were adequate because they prevented patients from falls.

On July 11, the Earle Haven home descended into scenes of chaos when 69 high-care residents were effectively left homeless.

The Nerang centre had ceased trading over a pay dispute between its owner, People Care, and HelpStreet, which managed the residential care facilities.

Ms Tuccori's call for help sparked a full-scale disaster response.

More than a hundred paramedics and Queensland Health staff came in to deal with the distressed residents, many suffering from dementia.

The scenes of elderly people being loaded into ambulances as supplies were stripped out of the home made national headlines and are the subject of a state parliamentary inquiry this week.

Gold Coast Health executive Karlene Willcocks told the committee one of the residents she spoke to that day told her he realised the home was in trouble when a blanket was whipped off him as he lay in bed.

She was there as part of the "mass casualty action plan" that responded to the confusing closure of the facility, as fridges, mops, buckets and even kitchen equipment were wheeled out.

Even items like disposable rubber gloves had been taken.

Queensland Ambulance Service paramedic Cary Strong said he saw rooms being stripped of everything except bed frames.

He also saw multiple verbal confrontations between people, including one involving an elderly man whose urine bag was dragging along the floor.

Mr Strong said despite the chaos, Earle Haven boss Arthur Miller, who was also there, told emergency services they could leave.

He told them they didn't need to be there because an administrator had been appointed to take over, Mr Strong said.

Mr Strong rejected that advice because he could see there was no appropriate plan in place in relation to the needs of the residents, in regard to food or hygiene.

Mr Miller was summonsed to appear before the state parliamentary hearing on Wednesday but was unable to appear because he was sick.

Committee chair Aaron Harper said Mr Miller would instead appear next week.

The hearing, which is investigating the quality and safety of aged care at Earle Haven, continues on Thursday.