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Carer sacked over "disgusting, degrading" death of client

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The carer of an Adelaide woman suffering from cerebral palsy who died in “disgusting and degrading” conditions has been sacked.

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Disability care provider Integrity Care SA says it is shocked and appalled by the death of Ann Marie Smith, who died in April from serious illnesses that developed while receiving full-time care in her home.

The 54-year-old lived alone in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs.

SA Police launched a manslaughter investigation after detectives were  shocked by the living conditions in her Kensington Gardens home.

In a statement on Sunday, Integrity Care says it had already been investigating the female carer prior to Smith’s death being declared a major crime.

The carer’s employment was terminated on Friday over her “serious and wilful misconduct”, when the cause of Smith’s death was announced.

“We trusted our carer and believe that we have been completely misled by her,” the statement read.

“Integrity Care SA extends its heartfelt sympathy to Ms Smith’s family and encourages anyone with relevant information or concerns to contact Crime Stoppers or the NDIS.”

Smith died in Royal Adelaide Hospital on April 6 from septic shock, multiple organ failures from severe pressure sores, and malnourishment.

She was admitted the previous day with severe ulcerated and infected tissue and other serious illnesses after her carer called an ambulance.

Welfare checks had been conducted on every other person the carer had been involved with and they were all in good health, Integrity Care said.

The carer was interviewed and suspended prior to Smith’s cause of death being determined.

Police became involved after a complaint was made to the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner about the standard of care Smith received.

“Ann was living her days and sleeping at night in the same woven-comb chair in her lounge room for over a year,” Detective Superintendent Des Bray said.

“That chair became her toilet, and there was no fridge and investigators were unable to locate any nutritional food in the house.

“We have to make sure something like this never happens again.”

Integrity Care said it had appointed an independent expert to review each of the NDIS participants in its care, including those looked after by the carer.

-AAP

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