20.6 C
Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

Coraki nursing home understaffed: coroner

Latest News

Michael Lyon elected as Byron Mayor

Owing to the resignation of former Mayor at the end of April, a vote was held today to replace Simon Richardson, until the next election

Other News

Travelling at the speed of lies

When Tim Berners-Lee and others created the architectural foundations of the world wide web, they did so with the vision of openness, idea sharing, and trust. Human nature has a way of making things more complicated, of course.

It’s D-Day for Byron’s Marvell Street DA

Will a controversial hotel development in central Byron that exceeds both height and floor space limits be given conditional approval at this week’s Byron Council meeting?

Water strategy

Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads The people of Mullumbimby would be aware that Byron Shire Council (BSC) intends to hand over...

Global predicament

Dudley Leggett – Director of Sustainability Research Institute, Suffolk Park Phillip Frazer’s article, (Echo 6 January) is an excellent summary of...

Father and son win first sailing race

Sixteen boats competed in the Tweed Valley Sailing Club’s race day earlier this month in a 10-12 knot breeze that suited newcomers to the sport well.

Ageism alive and well

Margaret Boshier, St Ives I have been spending time in the ocean since before I could walk; I grew up...

Staff reporters

Management of a Coraki nursing home have hit back at media reports that short-staffing was to blame for the death of a 91-year-old woman who suffocated during the night shift in 2010.

ABC’s 7.30 program last night reported on a coronial inquest into the death of Martha McKee, a high-care resident of the Mid Richmond Aged Care Facility, who died of asphyxiation on the night of July 28 2010. There were just two staff caring for 45 frail, elderly residents on the night of her death, the coroner found.

One, Patricia Sawtell, was a 20-year-old carer on her first night duty; the other, Judith Robson, was a carer whose nurse registration had lapsed. The coroner, Magistrate Robyn Denes, found ‘Ms Robson was effectively on her own caring for 45 residents’.

Ms McKee had only celebrated her 91st birthday with her family three days before, and her daughter told 7.30, ‘it was just another milestone in a long and happy life’. No-one at the party thought it would be the last time they saw her alive.

But some time in the night of 28 July Ms McKee fell out of bed, where she had been seen at 2.50am. She was found on the floor, by the two staff on duty, where she had fallen at 5am.

The carers assumed she was dead and called their supervisor. But Ms McKee may have been alive, the coroner found, and may have been able to be revived had the carers responded immediately.

Baptist Community Services, which operates the facility, said in a statement that staffing levels at the time were ‘appropriate’ and the centre has since been reaccredited.

But NSW Nurses Association spokesperson Brett Holmes said that the low staffing levels continue to be an issue in nursing homes like this one.

‘The size of the facilities in rural areas often means that they have fairly minimal staffing,’ he told ABC radio this morning. ‘And, as in this case, a period of time [may] elapse before they are able to… check on everyone.’

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. This is very sad and distressing.I have found Ratio of Clients to staff to be poor.I am monitoring my mother’s care.
    I am very sorry for this lady and her family.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Locals question placing homes in areas of inundation risk

It is where the community fought off Club Med and it is once again in the spotlight as the current owners, Elements, are seeking to have the zoning of the environmentally sensitive area in Bayshore Drive changed from tourism to residential

Go straight to the source on the Future Water Project

Rous County Council has announced a series of information days to be held this month where the community can ‘drop in’ and find out more about the revised draft Future Water Project 2060.

Free mental health workshop for Byron businesses

Business owners in Byron Shire are invited to attend a free 'Healthy Mindset' workshop aimed at providing them with resources and tools to improve mental health and wellbeing, as well as the opportunity to connect with other business owners.


Jillian Spring, Billinudgel In the article –  At a gathering of trainspotters, 21/4/21 by David Lisle, re Tweed Council Rail Trail, it is noted in...