Man given high dose of medication days before death

AN INQUEST probing the circumstance of a man's death in a Toowoomba aged care home in 2013 has heard he was given a high dose of one medication days before he died.

Albert Eric Bruce Biffin was 86 when he died in the Blue Care village's Jacaranda Unit on February 27, 2013.

An inquest into his death is probing the adequacy of care provided by nursing and residential care staff and the provision of medical treatment.

The inquest, before Coroner Christine Clements, heard the standard practice at Blue Care in 2013 regarding after-hours medical care was to have the enrolled nurse first contact the registered nurse with any concerns.

EN Kym McGowen, who started at the Jacaranda Unit on February 26, 2013, had been told Mr Biffin had undergone a small procedure days earlier but was unclear of details.

Under questioning, Ms McGowen told the inquest she had reviewed Mr Biffin's medical observation from the 24 hours before her shift, and had been told he was constipated when she started.

She said she was aware a doctor had prescribed Mr Boffin movicol but he had declined it during her shift.

"We always noted if their bowels opened in the bowels chart, put that into the progress notes, if they could eat lunch or had visitors," Ms McGowen said.

"We would note that (during the shift) but often if nothing happened, we made no note (until end of shift)."

Clinical nurse Christine Padget oversaw the 46 residents in the Jacaranda Unit as well as another high-care unit.

She was unable to recall circumstances surrounding Mr Biffin's death and relied on a statement dated February, 2014.

She recalled Mr Biffin appeared unwell near the end of her shift and asked the EN to do regular observations and "act accordingly".

Ms Padget said the 10 movicol doses Mr Biffin had been given over the course of three days was "on the upper scale" of treatment.

Ms Padget said at no time was she made aware Mr Biffin was in pain.

Blue Care Village integrated service manager Donna Hart told the inquest a new electronic system was introduced at the facility in late 2013 which kept more thorough records of all patients.

She conceded that, under the new system, the lack of follow-up information noted on Mr Biffin's medical chart would have triggered a review of his condition after February 24, 2013.

Ms Hart conceded the discrepancies in his medical notes would have prompted questions to the nursing staff. The inquest heard there were was no weekend clinical nurse rostered on at the facility in February, 2013.

The inquest will move to Brisbane today for the final day of hearings.

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