Lead welfare agency Anglicare SA says Ann-Marie Smith’s carer was subcontracted for shifts with their organisation, as the National Disability Insurance Scheme confirms it is investigating the case.
- Ann-Marie Smith died from severe pressure sores and malnutrition, among other complications
- Anglicare SA said Ms Smith’s carer provided services to their customers “in the past”
- The NDIS is investigating the case alongside SA Police’s major crime probe
In a statement on Sunday, Integrity Care SA revealed itself as the care provider for 54-year-old Ms Smith.
She died on April 6 from severe septic shock, multi-organ failure, severe pressure sores, malnutrition and issues connected with her cerebral palsy after being stuck in a cane chair for 24-hours-a-day for more than a year.
An NDIS Commission spokesperson said the scheme’s “first priority” was to ensure the safety of other NDIS participants supported by Integrity Care.
“The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has worked with the National Disability Insurance Agency to make contact with all NDIS participants receiving support, to check on their wellbeing,” the spokesperson said.
“We are closely monitoring their compliance with that notice.”
The spokesperson said Ms Smith’s death was “the subject of an active investigation” by the NDIS, alongside the South Australian Police probe.
Ms Smith lived alone at her Kensington Park home in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs and relied on a carer for all of her needs.
On Friday, SA Police declared her death a major crime and opened a manslaughter investigation, with Detective Superintendent Des Bray saying she was allowed to die in “disgusting and degrading circumstances”.
“It is important that those investigations are able to be undertaken appropriately,” the NDIS spokesperson said.
“We may require a range of actions to be taken by an NDIS provider during the course of our investigations.
“This may involve issuing one or more compliance notices, or taking other actions as information comes to light.”
Anglicare suspends Integrity Care SA contract
Superintendent Bray said Ms Smith’s carer attended her home on April 5 and called an ambulance after discovering her in a “semi-conscious state”.
She was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, where she had major surgery to remove rotting flesh from severe pressure sores on her body.
In its statement on Sunday, Integrity Care SA said it had terminated the carer’s employment due to her “serious and wilful misconduct”.
Anglicare SA chief executive Peter Sandeman said his organisation today suspended the use of Integrity Care, pending a review of its services.
“Anglicare SA has subcontracted a very small amount of work to Integrity Care within its community aged care services,” he said.
“We have been in contact with the three customers who had been receiving care services from Integrity Care, and their next of kin, to advise of the suspension of service and the alternate arrangements we have put in place for their care.”
Mr Sandeman said Anglicare is confident in the care its clients had been provided, and “regular checks by our own regular care staff and service coordinators support this”.
“The health, safety and wellbeing of our customers is always our priority,” he said.
Earlier today, SA Premier Steven Marshall announced a task force would be established, chaired by disability advocate David Caudrey, to investigate gaps in the disability care system.
“This case, and the alleged horrific conditions in which Anne-Marie Smith was living, have sickened us, sickened every single person in South Australia,” he said.
“We must make sure this can never, ever happen again.”
The investigations into Ms Smith’s death are running at the same time as the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.