Earle Haven residents urged to ‘seek legal action’
LAWYERS are investigating a class action for homeless Gold Coast aged care residents after discovering an elderly man is battling for his life.
The Bulletin has learned an 88-year-old man was one of the last to be moved from the Earle Haven aged care village about 1am last Friday.
His family members who had no idea where he was relocated found him bedridden and listless on Saturday at the Nerang Nursing Centre, and organised for his transport to the Gold Coast University Hospital.
The high-needs patient, who had been in a wheelchair, was admitted to the emergency department and the family expected the worst.
After contact from the family and other clients, Attwood Marshall legal practice director Jeff Garrett said the Coolangatta-based firm was investigating a potential class action against the nursing home's management and operators.
"Following today's Earle Haven crisis talks, which offered no substantial guidance to evacuation victims, Attwood Marshall Lawyers are encouraging those affected to seek urgent legal advice," Mr Garrett said.
"We encourage former residents of the abandoned facility - or their loved ones, if the elderly resident has no capacity, to pursue their legal rights."
Mr Garrett said his office had been approached by several former residents and begun acting "for the family of an elderly man, left battling for his life just days after his abrupt evacuation".
Attwood Marshall lawyers said the rights of redress for the affected residents and their families could include:
● Claiming a refund of any daily rate charges billed to the residents for expenses deducted from their bank accounts - these were in many cases billed in advance and were deducted from the residents' bank account the day after the shutdown of the premises.
● Recovery of any costs associated with moving from Earle Haven to any new facility including transport costs, daily rate costs incurred at the new facilities. These would be at the higher rate because of them not holding a refundable accommodation deposit.
● Applying to have any exit fees or deductions waived from any RAD paid to Earle Haven. The refundable accommodation deposits would range from $300,000 to $500,000. Quite often there are significant percentages of this amount that are lost if you pass away or move to another facility.
● Damages for any psychological or physical injury suffered as a result of the sudden shutdown of the facility and failure to provide the usual sustenance and medical care required of the residents. The family members of the residents affected may also have a claim for damages for psychological injury resulting from the anxiety and stress in dealing with the sudden eviction of the residents.
● Compensation for any losses suffered as a result of switching to alternate facilities, including any additional payments that are required for the RAD or any other associated expenses.
Mr Garrett said residents who would need to be kept in hospitals pending the availability of care facilities could also incur further costs and out-of-pocket expenses as a direct result of the wrongful shutdown of the facility. This could lead to compensation claims.