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Court hears St Basil’s Fawkner staff given outdated infection control training prior to COVID outbreak

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Allegations of serious neglect at St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Fawkner have emerged at a Supreme Court hearing into a major class action against the operators of the home on Wednesday.

According to The Age, the court has heard that staff working at St Basil’s Fawkner were given outdated infection control training in the lead-up to a deadly coronavirus outbreak, which led to the deaths of more than one-quarter of the 120 residents at the aged care facility.

The management hearing for the case was told training for staff was conducted by a doctor whose expertise in infection protection was unknown and who based their training on outdated clinical guidance.

Between May and July last year, family and friends visiting the home were not told to limit visits, despite rising community spread of the virus. Face masks were not enforced, hand sanitiser was not readily available and hygiene standards were lax in communal living areas, according to the writ submitted to the Supreme Court and seen by The Age.

Acting on behalf of the residents and their families, Andrew Broadfoot, QC, told the court the elderly residents were often left starving in their rooms due to under-staffing and in soiled clothing for days.

Effie Fotiadis was the first plaintiff to launch civil action against St Basil’s Fawkner, which is owned by the Greek Orthodox Church. Her 79-year-old father, Dimitrios, died on July 25 in the Northern Hospital after becoming infected with coronavirus at the home.

The hearing continues.

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