A nursing director has denied she was attempting to cover up the death of a dementia patient when she told her staff not to immediately call the police.
Charles McCulloch, 94, was admitted to the secure dementia ward of Narrabundah's Jindalee Aged Care Residence on 20 January, 2012, after being transferred between various NSW facilities.
One day later, he was dead, bashed by another resident and discovered in his bed by staff early in the morning.
Jindalee's response to the death has raised a number of concerns, which are currently being explored in an inquest before the ACT Coroner's Court.
Shocked staff struggled to deal with the situation, while Mr McCulloch's body was left unsupervised, the suspected killer allowed to roam free and other residents allegedly assaulted.
The police were not called for roughly an hour, and Mr McCulloch was interfered with by someone who placed a pillow and blanket over his face.
The victim's family have been left dismayed by his treatment and, through their lawyer Lessli Strong, asked Jindalee's nursing director for an explanation on Wednesday.
Ms Strong said the family were concerned that Mr McCulloch was not actually dead when he was first found and believed there may have been an attempted cover-up by staff.
"They can't comprehend why their beloved father and grandfather was left for that length of time," Ms Strong said.
The inquest has previously heard that a registered nurse had called her nursing director, telling her Mr McCulloch was dead, had blood on his face, and was thought to have been attacked by another resident.
The nursing director asked her whether anyone had seen the attack. No one had.
The nurse was then told not to call the police straight away, but to instead call a doctor to confirm the death was suspicious.
The director of nursing Jo Costuna, as she was then known, was called to give evidence about that conversation when the inquest resumed on Wednesday morning, after a lengthy hiatus.
Counsel assisting Amanda Tonkin questioned Ms Costuna about why she failed to immediately call the police, when her junior was clearly telling her Mr McCulloch had been killed.
"You were trying to cover it up, weren't you?" Ms Tonkin asked.
"You were going to cover up what happened to Mr McCulloch because no one had seen what had happened?"
Ms Costuna replied: "Absolutely not."
She said she knew Mr McCulloch had a history of falls, and wanted a doctor to assess him before bringing in the police.
When a doctor eventually saw Mr McCulloch's facial injuries, he told the nurse to immediately call police, although there were further delays when a second nursing director told staff to wait until she arrived.
The man suspected of killing Mr McCulloch, himself a dementia sufferer, has since died. Jindalee, the inquest heard, has changed some of its policies, including installing CCTV cameras in its hallways, and refusing to take residents with significant histories of violence.
Ms Costuna told the inquest she would now immediately call the police in the event of a suspicious death, without waiting for a doctor.
She said in her 35 years of nursing, she had never experienced a situation like it.
There were also suggestions that Jindalee had given an inaccurate version of events to the then Department of Health and Ageing, which was exculpatory of its staff.
"I put it to you that the department weren't provided with accurate information," said Ms Tonkin.
That was strongly denied by Ms Costuna, who replied: "I don't agree. Everything they asked we provided information about and answered their questions."
The inquest continues on Thursday.