WANTED TO LEAVE: Emily Foody was
WANTED TO LEAVE: Emily Foody was "petrified” of being left alone at TriCare in Bundaberg, her daughters said. Contributed

'Get me out of here': Mum's plea to daughters

"I DON'T want any other family to go through what we went through, or see what we had to see.

"It just breaks your heart."

Alley Foody and her siblings said goodbye to their mother, Emily, on January 12.

Just over two weeks earlier they say she was "neglected" at the Bundaberg aged care facility TriCare.

They are among a number of other families alleging mistreatment at Bundaberg facilities who have come out of the woodwork following the NewsMail's front page story on Tuesday.

In that story, Woodgate's Heather Mansell-Brown called for higher staff numbers, detailing her complaint over the treatment of her husband Bill at TriCare Bundaberg, including being called in to help clean him when he was covered in his own faeces and being told by a nurse of bleeding on his scrotum after he was left in a wet nappy for 12 hours.

But TriCare director Michael O'Connor has strongly refuted claims that the company does not employ enough staff and urged anyone with issues to contact TriCare or the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

Emily Foody was 67 and suffering from cervical cancer which spread to her lungs and beyond.

She was released from hospital in December in good spirits and was only at TriCare for two weeks, her daughter Sally Henningsen said, during which time she "went downhill".

"When she was in hospital you could have a conversation with mum and she was happy as Larry, eating and drinking; when she got into TriCare she was downhill from there," Sally said.

She had a small bedsore which needed dressing twice a day.

Instead the dressings were only changed every three days, Sally said, "and we had to complain several times to get them to change it".

Emily's nappies would frequently be put on her too tightly and then left soiled overnight, Alley said.

Both said their mother would ring them every night in tears, begging to be leave or for her nappy to be changed.

"You wouldn't leave a little baby in a nappy for that long," Alley said.

"Why would you do it to an older person?

"I used to walk out crying because I hated seeing mum like that.

"Everyone there deserves better."

"She was petrified," Sally said.

"We would come in to the home and the buzzers would be ripped out of the wall."

However, she said, "I don't think it's the staff that is the problem - they are understaffed."

On Christmas Eve the sisters said they were contacted by staff at TriCare Bundaberg who warned them to prepare for Emily's death. "They said mum's deteriorating, we're going to get her comfortable and let her go peacefully," Alley said.

Emily's children objected and had her rushed to Bundaberg Hospital where they say she was treated for severe dehydration - and her bedsore was severely infected, "the size of your hand and about 6cm deep, with the gauze still in it".

"The doctors had photos of it and it made me physically sick," Sally said.

Alley said she phoned TriCare's head office to complain, but "they more or less swept me under the carpet," she said.

"I said mum wasn't getting treated right ... They said 'we treat everyone fairly', along those lines."

Sally said she was considering making a formal complaint as the family continued to grieve.

TriCare's Michael O'Connor said he had not been aware of the Foody family's experience but said "now that it's in front of me, we are going to investigate".

"We are committed to dealing with things appropriately," he said.

"I would urge the family to contact me directly so I can talk to them about how we're going to deal with it."

When contacted by the NewsMail yesterday he said he could not comment on individual incidents in the given timeframe.

"We're confident staffing levels are appropriate and adequate," he said.

"We're committed to providing high level care."

If you have had a bad experience with aged care phone the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on 1800 550 552.


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