Wednesday, 29 June 2022
    Aged Care

    Whistleblower punished

    In June 2014, Karen Sorensen staggered out of the aged care home where she had long worked as a registered nurse and collapsed on the footpath, the Canberra Times reports.

    She had just left the job she loved, and the clients she cared about, because she wasn’t sure it was safe anymore.

    Earlier, Ms Sorensen had discovered that her manager had again dressed a highly infectious wound without gloves. When she took them aside to reiterate the importance of never repeating that breach of protocol, she was admonished.

    This wasn’t the first time Ms Sorensen had had serious fears about how the clinical care policies she set were being followed since the facility expanded and this particular manager arrived. Months before they had left early for a break on the coast during a blackout, leaving Ms Sorensen and three other staff alone to juggle 50 residents.

    Staff had also been instructed to bill for pain relief massages never performed, she claims.

    But this time, she repeated her concerns in writing. When nothing changed, she notified the homes’ chief executive who promised to take care of it. Instead, what followed she believes was a “concerted campaign of bullying and retaliation”, designed to silence and discredit her.

    She was eventually awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for permanent psychological injury sustained on the job.

    Ms Sorensen’s story is one of many shocking experiences to be shared with the Royal Commissioned into Aged Care at hearings in Canberra.


    Aged care worker speaks out as Royal Commission comes to Canberra (Canberra Times)


    Aged care facility ignored man’s claim he was having a heart attack, royal commission told (Sydney Morning Herald)


    Karen Sorensen / Picture: Elesa Kurtz