The caregiver of a disabled woman who was left to rot in her own feces worked for six years without proper permission, a minister revealed.
54-year-old Ann-Marie Smith, who was in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy, died at Royal Adelaide Hospital on April 6 from septic shock and multiple organ failure.
Police declared Mrs. Smith’s death a major crime and started a manslaughter investigation into how she was left in a wicker chair – which also served as a toilet – for over a year, despite a caregiver at her home six hours a day was appointed.
Ann-Marie Smith, 54, died at Royal Adelaide Hospital on April 6 from septic shock, multiple organ failure from severe pressure ulcers and malnutrition
Secretary of State Michelle Lensink said on Tuesday that Ms Smith’s caregiver, Rosemary Maione, had not received a work permit for disability services despite the law in 2014, The advertiser reported.
Ms. Lensink said, “I understand it will take six or seven years before she has not worked with a clearance.
“Since 2014, all disability workers must have a customs clearance.”
Ms. Smith’s death led to an investigation by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguards Commission and an SA Police homicide investigation.
The state government has also set up a 12-member task force to identify gaps in the disability sector.
South Australian Prime Minister Steven Marshall said he would “absolutely” cooperate with the federal government if it decided to close Integrity Care SA, the company responsible for Mrs. Smith’s care.
Integrity Care SA fired Ms Maione for “serious and willful misconduct” and was also fined for failing to notify NDIS of Ms. Smith’s death within 24 hours.
It is believed that Ms. Smith was locked in a wooden chair in her home (photo) in Kensington Park, Adelaide for over a year
The NDIS commission fined the health care provider $ 12,600 for taking two weeks to report the woman’s death.
NDIS Commissioner Graeme Head said by law that Integrity Care SA could choose to pay the fine or not, but if it chose not to, legal action was a possibility with a maximum fine of $ 262,500.
“Reporting serious incidents to the NDIS Committee is a critical safeguard for people with disabilities,” said Mr. Head.
Ms. Smith was hospitalized on April 5 after her caregiver found her semi-conscious at her home in Kensington Park.
She underwent surgery to remove rotting flesh from sores on her body before receiving palliative care the day before her death.
The NDIS commission fined Integrity Care SA (pictured) $ 12,600 for not reporting Mrs. Smith’s death until two weeks later
Ms. Smith died of septic shock, multiple organ failure from severe pressure ulcers and malnutrition.
Detective Des Bray said Mrs. Smith had died in “disgusting circumstances.”
“Ann lived her days and slept in the same woven comb chair in her living room at night for over a year,” he said.
“That chair became her toilet, there was no refrigerator, and the researchers couldn’t find any nutrients in the house.”
An Integrity Care statement said, “We trusted our caregiver and believe we have been completely misled by her.”
“Integrity Care SA expresses its sincere sympathy for Mrs. Smith’s family and encourages anyone with relevant information or concerns to contact Crime Stoppers or the NDIS.”
Ms. Smith was a customer of Disability SA, but switched to NDIS in 2018.
Her death has also come to the attention of the Royal Commission that investigates the care of the disabled, who has indicated that she can conduct her own investigation after the police and other investigations.
Ms Smith’s caregiver, Rosemary Maione, had been working without proper authorization since 2014 because she had not obtained disability for disability services