Shocking footage has emerged online today of 98-year-old Yvonne Grant begging for staff at her nursing home to help her go to the toilet. Yvonne called for help over 300 times in an hour but was ignored.
When a nurse eventually came to her room, she called her “vicious” and told Yvonne to just urinate in her incontinence pad.
Suspecting that staff at Oban House in London was mistreating Yvonne, her great-granddaughter Vanessa Evans planted a hidden camera in Yvonne’s room. But even Evans was shocked by the footage she saw.
Evans told BBC’s Panorama, “I was expecting to find something but I didn’t think it would be this extreme. Her calls were definitely ignored because the nurse’s station is right outside the room.”
The devastating footage has sparked outrage across the world, as it rightly should. The neglect and poor treatment of an elderly, scared and vulnerable woman is devastating to witness. But perhaps the reason that this particular video has deeply affected so many around the world is because it touches on a very real fear that many of us face when dealing with the reality of placing our loved ones in aged care.
We question if we’re doing the right thing. If we’re making the best decision. If we could be doing more. If we can possibly bear to leave the care of someone we love to a ‘stranger’. And really, it’s horror scenarios like this one that at the very centre of those fears. Scenarios where grandparents, parents, aunties, uncles, friends – people whom we love and want the best for – are ignored, neglected or even worse, abused.
What happened to Yvonne shows that while the vast, vast majority of carers are amazing, good, hard-working, phenomenal people – there are always risks for the more vulnerable in our society. And those risks are particularly real in a country like Australia.
Our population is ageing and we aren’t yet properly resourced or ready to respond to that. And the risk of a bad or abusive carer slipping through the cracks is much higher when the good ones are overworked, exhausted and desperate for help.
Yvonne died one month after this video footage was filmed. May she rest in peace.