Elderly man’s death probed by coroner

THE death of an elderly man at Townsville's newest aged care facility just a week after he became a resident will be investigated by the coroner.

The Townsville Bulletin last week reported PresCare's Protea $30 million aged care facility in Douglas had failed a government audit for putting the safety, health or wellbeing of a client at "serious risk".

It can now be revealed the client, an 87-year-old man with mild dementia, began living at the facility on April 12 and died suddenly at the Townsville Hospital exactly a week later on Good Friday.

Two high-ranking staff members have lost their jobs as a consequence. The coroner's office confirmed the death of the man would be investigated to determine the circumstances and if the case should go to an inquest.

A PresCare spokeswoman said the incident related to a "particular set of circumstances" rather than systemic failure and that there was "no ongoing risk to residents".

"We implemented immediate changes to ensure the continued wellbeing of our residents," she said.

"We can confirm the facility manager and the clinical care manager are no longer employed by PresCare. A new facility manager has been appointed and is working with staff to strengthen clinical governance to provide high-quality care."

A spokeswoman for the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which audited Protea on May 1, said the Health Department was notified of the risk and the service was placed on a timetable for improvement.

The facility in Angus Smith Drive is one of 16 nursing homes in Queensland that failed quality audits in 2018-19.

Due to privacy reasons, Pres­Care has refused to comment on the number of residents that lived at the facility at the time or how many live there now, although the Townsville Bulletin previously reported 20 residents were due to move into the facility on April 8. It is understood the 87-year-old man was one of a handful of residents.

The five-level complex has a 20-bed special care unit for people with dementia and 120 beds providing medium and high-level care, along with services such as a gymnasium, rooftop garden, cafe and hairdressing salon.

The man's death comes nearly two years after five people died in suspicious circumstances while living at the Carinity Fairfield Grange aged care facility in the months leading up to November 2017.

PresCare Protea is due for a reaccreditation audit prior to April 4, 2020.