29 May 2023

Council calls for community calm after Clare Nowland's tragic death

| Claire Fenwicke
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Yallambee Lodge sign

Clare Nowland was allegedly tasered by a police officer during an incident at Yallambee Lodge in Cooma. Photo: Snowy Monaro Regional Council.

Snowy Monaro Council has provided more information about what happened the day Clare Nowland was allegedly tasered by a police officer, while also calling for calm in the community.

The 95-year-old great-grandmother died last week following the incident at Yallambee Lodge, during which it’s alleged she was holding a knife before a police officer deployed a taser.

The council says it is undertaking its own investigation into circumstances surrounding the incident, and is assisting both NSW Police and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s investigations.

“Council confirms that Yallambee Lodge operates under and adheres to clear and strict guidelines concerning de-escalation procedures, and it was in accordance with these procedures that on the morning of Wednesday, 17 May 2023, a call was placed to emergency services with a request for assistance in the medical treatment of Mrs Nowland and transfer to hospital if appropriate,” the statement reads.

“Council and Yallambee Lodge take their obligations to the community and to their residents extremely seriously and aim to provide the best care possible.”

The statement also asks for the community to remain calm during this “difficult time”.

READ MORE Cooma community mourns the death of Clare Nowland

“The circumstances are extremely distressing for the staff at Yallambee Lodge, who have to date been the recipients of abusive and aggressive communications,” the statement says.

“Council requests from the community calm and understanding to enable the investigations to proceed comprehensively, while appreciating that this is a very difficult time.”

Mrs Nowland had been suffering from dementia during her time at Yallambee Lodge.

woman in chair and holding flowers

The late Clare Nowland will be much missed. Photo: Nowland family.

The council statement says both staff at the aged-care facility and the council are “extremely saddened” by her death.

“Mrs Nowland was a caring, selfless and loving person. Yallambee was privileged to have her as a resident over the last five years,” it states.

“Council, Yallambee Lodge and its staff are extremely saddened by the events surrounding Mrs Nowland’s passing and our thoughts remain with her family and friends.”

READ ALSO Man accused of Yass Hotel fire granted strict bail due to ‘enormous risk’ posed by mental health issues

Yallambee Lodge underwent a full audit by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission between January and February this year.

The facility was found to be compliant with standards in areas of ongoing assessment and planning with consumers, personal and clinical care, services and supports for daily living, the organisation’s service environment, feedback and complaints, human resources, and organisational governance.

“There are no specific areas identified in which improvements must be made to ensure compliance with the Quality Standards,” the report states.

“The provider is required to actively pursue continuous improvement in order to remain compliant with the Quality Standards.”

The report notes staff have access to both online and face-to-face training and education sessions to assist with their roles.

“The service’s mandatory training and education plan identifies staff receive training on a range of topics including but not limited to clinical care, incident reporting and open disclosure,” it states.

“The service has policies, procedures and guidelines in place to guide staff in the management of high impact and high prevalence risks, supporting consumers to live the best life they can and managing and preventing incidents.”

A senior constable has been charged over the tasering incident and has been summonsed to appear at Cooma Local Court on 5 July.

He has been stood down with pay.

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