NSW Police are investigating after officers allegedly Tasered a 95-year-old woman in the back and chest at a regional aged care facility in the state’s south.
The local council which operates the facility met on Thursday to discuss “stretched resources” at the aged care centre as the woman clung to life in hospital, after sustaining injuries including a suspected fractured skull and brain bleed.
Clare Nowland, 95, was allegedly Tasered by officers after being found with a knife, while using her walker, at Yallambee Lodge aged care facility in Cooma on Wednesday morning.
Family spokesman Andrew Thaler said Nowland was Tasered in the chest and back about 4am on Wednesday after police were called to Yallambee.
“She has dementia that waxes and wanes, she’s good and bad at times,” Thaler said.
“The family are shocked, the community are shocked … The question will be how was it appropriate to use this level of force on a 95-year-old woman?”
Snowy Monaro Regional Council, which operates Yallambee, confirmed the incident on social media on Thursday.
“Council are supporting our staff, residents, and families during this difficult time,” the statement read.
NSW Police released a statement on Wednesday with few details, saying only that the 95-year-old was injured during an “interaction with police”.
Nowland was taken to Cooma District Hospital where family are reportedly by her side.
Thaler said she had life-threatening head injuries as a result of falling over during the altercation, including a fractured skull and brain bleed.
NSW Police said a critical incident investigation was under way into how the officers handled the confrontation.
Police declined to offer further details of the event on Thursday.
NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Josh Pallas said police must stop using Tasers on people experiencing mental health crises or dementia.
“Surely, there must be more appropriate ways to deal with noncompliant people who are suffering,” Pallas said.
“Yet again, I reiterate that the problem with Tasers is that there is misunderstanding about their potential lethality; a clear lack of training leading to inappropriate policing with tragic outcomes for families and communities across NSW.”
Snowy Monaro Council, in its plan for aged care until 2028, concluded the community was “not well served” in terms of dementia care facilities.
Since then, the council has moved to upgrade Yallambee by planning 16 more beds including dementia-specific care.
The council met on Thursday and its most recent report of Yallambee notes it was under pressure, as home care providers failed to meet demands and Cooma Hospital drew on seven of its 40 beds.
“Yallambee Lodge currently sits at its highest level of occupancy in four years with 39 residents at the facility … However, changes associated with reform and the speed in which these are occurring, creates additional pressure on already stretched resources,” council meeting notes read.
Last month Yallambee was audited by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner and was found compliant across every category.
Source – https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/elderly-woman-95-tasered-by-nsw-police-at-aged-care-facility-20230518-p5d9g2.html