Inquest: Boss denies creating rules for quadriplegic

BE Lifestyle managing director Belinda Wardlaw leaves Maroochydore Court House.
BE Lifestyle managing director Belinda Wardlaw leaves Maroochydore Court House. Warren Lynam

BE LIFESTYLE managing director Belinda Wardlaw has denied involvement in the creation of a list of proposed rules for a quadriplegic patient that were regarded by a disability worker to be a breach of human rights and the Disability Services Act.

She instead blamed the mother of Leah Floyd as the instigator of 10 proposed rules which included no visits from children, no phone calls, no community access visits and no conversations to carers about harming herself.

Ms Wardlaw gave evidence at Maroochydore Court House on Thursday during a coroner's inquest into the death of Mrs Floyd.

Counsel assisting the coroner Megan Jarvis referred to file notes that said the rules had been approved by BE Lifestyle's legal team and agreed to by Mrs Floyd's mother.


Ms Wardlaw said she didn't recall that and had been struggling to contact the Department of Communities over concerns she had about Mrs Floyd.

She said she was fine once she had been in touch with Department of Communities employee Melissa Thomsen, who on Wednesday gave evidence that she had concerns the proposed rules breached human rights and the Disability Services Act.

Mrs Floyd's admission to Nambour General Hospital's mental health ward was also probed.

Ms Wardlaw said concerns over staff reports of Mrs Floyd's discussions about wanting to end her life prompted the company to contact a GP to organise a referral for a mental health assessment at the hospital.

That referral resulted in Mrs Floyd being admitted to the hospital's psychiatric ward on September 5, 2013, which was 10 days after she had first arrived a BE Lifestyle's Yandina Creek home from the Princess Alexandra Hospital's spinal injuries unit.

Ms Wardlaw said concerns about a reported attempt to drive her wheelchair into the path of traffic during an outing in Coolum on August 31 were also a basis for initiating the referral.

But Ms Wardlaw acknowledged there were no notes in the daily care book from that day about Mrs Floyd trying to harm herself.

The care book had been filled out by the carer who was with Mrs Floyd in Coolum.

Ms Wardlaw said she had been told by a carer about the incident.

"The house supervisors are in charge of getting staff to do their documentation," Ms Wardlaw said.

She also conceded no critical incident report had been compiled, saying it was not her responsibility to fill them all out.

"I was trying to do my best."

Ms Wardlaw said she also had concerns about information received from Mrs Floyd's mother and had reports that Mrs Floyd had driven her electric wheelchair from the facility onto Musgrave Rd.

She said she thought there was further information about incidents that also led to the referral but couldn't remember what it was.

Ms Wardlaw is scheduled to continue her evidence on Friday.

Topics:  be lifestyle blue care coroner's inquest death department of communities disability nambour general hospital quadriplegic sunshine coast sunshine coast hospital and health service yandina creek

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