Posted on 16 Oct 2018
The Epsimos family’s world turned to devastation the day its 84-year-old patriarch Sam fell from his bed at a Sydney aged care home.
With the recent announcement of a Royal Commission into Aged Care, the family is now hoping that changes are made to ensure no other family goes through the same thing.
Senior Slater and Gordon Lawyer Tim Cummings is also helping the family navigate the legal process to ensure they receive some support for their loss.
Mr Epsimos passed away on December 12, 2014 after falling from his bed, hitting his head on the ground and consequently suffering a large right subdural haematoma at the southern Sydney home seven days earlier.
At about 6.55am on the day of the fall, Mr Epsimos asked for assistance to use the bathroom as he was unable to walk without help.
A staff member raised the bed and removed the safety bars before leaving him unattended for a period of three minutes.
During that time he fell from his bed, hitting the floor instead of a crash mat – which should have been used – and was consequently rushed to St George’s Hospital.
A Coronial Inquest found that the death occurred as a result of the fall and called on the home to review processes and staffing levels to ensure an incident like this does not happen again.
Mr Epsimos’ son John said the grandfather was required to have two staff members help him getting in and out of bed. He said the substandard care provided by the home and its staff was not good enough with someone needing to be held accountable.
He added that his mother Toula still had not come to terms with what had happened, with the whole family still extremely frustrated with the care.
“He was in high care and procedures should have been taken to ensure this didn’t happen,” Mr Epsimos said. “The bed was raised at its highest point, they didn’t use crash mats and they didn’t immediately activate the emergency buzzer after dad was found on the floor.
“Clearly there was negligence here and unfortunately it’s my father and our family who have had to suffer as a result of it.
“Since the fall, he would have spent time with two great-grandchildren, who he will never get to meet – our family is distraught.”
Mr Cummings said there had been a clear breach of protocol and substandard care in leaving Mr Epsimos unattended whilst he was at his most vulnerable, and not ensuring appropriate safety procedures were in place.
“It is obvious that there were gaps in protocol on the day of the fall, which led to this tragic fall happening,” Mr Cummings.
“The family is entitled to be angry and frustrated about this. They are also entitled to support for this shocking and sudden loss.”
The proposed Royal Commission will look at the quality of care provided to older Australians as well as younger Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care.
It will also focus on the challenges of supporting the increasing number of Australians with dementia as well as the country’s changing demographics.