Family open up on the 'coronavirus nightmare we can't wake up from'

·3-min read

The daughter of a woman living in a nursing home which has become a cluster for coronavirus in NSW has spoken of her agony after the outbreak.

Eleven people have died from coronavirus at Anglicare’s Newmarch House aged care facility in western Sydney, after the deaths of four more residents were confirmed on Tuesday.

Louise Payne, whose mother Yvonne, 89, has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and lives at the home, told Nine’s Today show she’s still in shock from the news of the deaths.

“It is like a nightmare that we can't wake up from,” she told the program.

Louise Payne is pictured in an interview with Nine's Today show..
Louise Payne's mum is at Newmarch Home where COVID-19 has broken out among staff and residents, claiming 11 lives. Source: The Today Show/ Nine Network

She added being unable to see her mother and the uncertainty surrounding the situation is “terrible”.

Her mum is also “not doing well”.

“She is becoming more non-verbal,” she said.

“She is not eating. She is not walking. So we don't know if COVID-19 is going to take mum but she definitely will be significantly compromised if she does get through this.”

She told the ABC her mum had dementia and diabetes. She hasn’t been able to visit her mum since March 23.

"It's like Russian Roulette … I can't say mum's got a better chance than anyone else there," she told the ABC.

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It’s believed the virus may have spread from an aged care worker at the nursing home who showed up to work feeling ill. On Monday, Anglicare confirmed 34 residents and 20 staff members at Newmarch House had tested positive for COVID-19.

A general view of Anglicare Newmarch House in Western Sydney.
Eleven people have died at Anglicare Newmarch House from coronavirus. Source: Nine News

Ms Payne told The Today Show she’s seen her mum twice on WhatsApp and her deterioration in health is “just incredible”.

When asked if she blamed the nursing home, Ms Payne said the care residents are getting from nurses “is amazing”.

She added about five nurses are caring for 23 residents.

Ms Payne said one nurse in particular cried with her on the phone.

“She said, ‘I am treating your mother like she is my mother’ and that seems to be what is happening,” she said.

Questions to Newmarch House ‘going unanswered’

However, she claims she, and a number of other families with relatives at the home, aren’t getting their questions and concerns addressed by Anglicare.

Her husband Ken Payne told The Daily Telegraph the family hasn’t received an update on Yvonne for two days.

“A lot can happen in two days, and it must be frightening for (Yvonne) to only see people with masks day in day out,” he told the paper.

“We just want to… see her through the window to check she’s okay.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Wednesday the number of deaths in Newmarch House is “devastating”.

“It reminds us how contagious this virus is and how it attacks the elderly and vulnerable in particular,” she said.

“Our hearts go out to all the families of the people who have succumbed to the disease and all the families who are really worried about their loved ones, and I can confirm last night the minister for health contacted the federal minister for aged care, to express our government's concerns at the lack of communication between the centre's operators and the relatives.”

Staff and anyone entering the homes at the aged care facility have been screened, and were required to disclose if they were unwell, or if they had been in contact with a confirmed case.

Flowers left outside the Anglicare Newmarch House in Western Sydney
Flowers left outside the Anglicare Newmarch House on Sunday. Source: AAP

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