A Canberra woman has opened up about her despair over her elderly mother's treatment at a Canberra nursing home, revealing dinner some nights was just two party pies and a banana.
The woman, who feared retribution if her mother or the nursing home were publicly named, said her mum's diabetes spiralled out of control and her blood sugar level was almost six times the normal limit when she was admitted to hospital.
"They served tinned fruit which is too high in sugar for her and the dehydration was making things worse," she said.
"When she was taken to hospital the emergency department doctor said it was amazing she was still conscious."
The woman said she and other family members visited her mother at lunch and dinner times to feed her and they also employed a nursing agency $55 per hour to go into the nursing home at meal times and assist her mother if they could not be there themselves.
"My complaint to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme was upheld on several points which were that she was dehydrated, she was not washed enough, they had not changed her linen enough and her medication was not appropriately given," she said.
"We would find her soaked head to toe in her own urine because they were not changing her nappies enough."
The woman said she would sometimes shower her mother at the home and change bed pans.
"They said they would shower her every second day but it was more like once a week. She smelled so bad sometimes I nearly vomited.
"She went to the home for rehabilitation because she was not well enough to go straight home from hospital from an earlier stay.
"We thought she would be there for a little while but she went so far downhill."
The Commonwealth Department of Social Services, which oversees the aged care complaints scheme said it would not comment on the matter.
"Information relating to complaints handled by the Aged Care Complaints Scheme is protected under the Aged Care Act 1997 and it is unlawful to make this publicly available," a spokeswoman said.
The woman said her mother was still in hospital and she was resisting pressure to take her away.
"The hospital would prefer her to go to a nursing home to die but I know it would be a horrible death and I'm fighting it.
"We need minimum staffing ratios at nursing homes and we also need the government to take it over.
"It's being run like charity now and it's not charity – it's health care and it's a human right and the government should be in charge of it in the same way it runs hospitals."