The events that have unfolded over the last couple of weeks at St Basil’s have been heartbreaking to say the least, but more shocking to our family are the stories that are coming out about the staff & management of St Basil’s.
The things we are hearing are in strong contrast to our experience, having our grandmother in the home for the last 2 years. Various members of our family visit her every week (some of whom are nurses, aged care and disability workers themselves).

We always found our grandmother bathed and in clean clothing. Her room was always in a clean & tidy state. The quality of the food she was offered was of a high standard. There were always engaging activities on offer – bingo, art, music, church services streamed on TV. All tailored to make the patrons feel culturally safe and at ease.

Staff were always friendly, answered any questions we had, and followed up any medical issues. Up until this pandemic we were extremely happy and confident in her care.

Having said that, it quickly became evident to our family that the facility had become overwhelmed by the severity & speed of the outbreak, without support from governing bodies.

ALSO READ: St Basil’s aged care residents transferred to hospital, but not all relatives are happy

We made the decision to remove our grandmother at 9am on Wednesday 22nd July before DHHS [Department of Health and Human Services] took over. We want to stress, up until that point, she was still getting regular meals & care and at least one family member was speaking to her via Skype daily.

Several members of the family were receiving daily emails explaining the situation with the outbreak and any time we called, the phone was answered and reassurance was given.

Even on the day she was picked up, under what must have been an enormously stressful situation with the looming DHHS takeover, staff showered, dressed & thoughtfully packed her bags, being sure they grabbed her slippers and an extra pair of shoes.

We cannot speak as to what happened after 11am on the 22nd July, but up until that time, there was no neglect by St Basil’s staff, they did their job as they always have with care and compassion.

Even though not all of the staff were nurses, let alone acute nurses trained in dealing with pandemics, we felt they did the best they could.

We will be eternally grateful and feel very lucky to have taken her out when we did. We are heartbroken for the families that have lost loved ones and pray they find peace in this awful situation.

ALSO READ: St Basil’s death toll rises to 19, amid reports of residents in dire conditions