Lucky 80-year-old Beaudesert resident Erika Freingruber.
Lucky 80-year-old Beaudesert resident Erika Freingruber.

Care Army and police saving lives during COVID-19

THE QUEENSLAND Police Service has been praised by the Premier for coming to the aid of an 80-year-old woman who broke her hip and was unable to move in her home for more than four days.

Erika Freingruber, who lives alone in her Beaudesert house and has no immediate family, had registered for assistance with the Care Army during COVID-19. A member of the Care Army Community Recovery team raised concerns with Beaudesert police on April 23 after not being able to contact the 80-year-old.

The officers attended Erika's address and could hear her faintly calling out for help.

They forced entry to the residence and located her incapacitated on the floor. Police comforted Erika and administered fluids until paramedics arrived.

Erika had broken her hip after falling several days earlier and was unable to get assistance.

As all of the doctors who treated Erika in hospital told her, she was very lucky to be alive.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Erika's rescue graphically illustrated the crucial work of the Care Army and police.

"I am extremely grateful to the member of the Care Army who raised the alarm when Erika couldn't be contacted, she said.

"And as for the police, I can't say enough about the urgency, professionalism and compassion they brought to bear in going to Erika's aid.

"This is what Queenslanders are all about; looking out for each other, caring for each other and protecting each other."

Commissioner Katarina Carroll said Erika's ordeal demonstrated the importance of caring for seniors in our community, particularly during the Coronavirus pandemic.

"We need to make sure everyone in our community is being looked after during these times, particularly those more vulnerable such as older people, those with a medical condition and people who live alone," Commissioner Carroll said.

"We are very pleased Erika registered for assistance with the Care Army and through the systems in place, police were able to get to her before it was too late.

"The officers should be commended for their quick-thinking actions in forcing their way into Erika's home and their compassion in looking after her and even visiting her in hospital."

Police Minister Mark Ryan thanked the officers involved in helping Erika survive her traumatic ordeal.

"I often say we have a world-class police service, well, this was world-class caring for vulnerable members of our community," Mr Ryan said.

"The Beaudesert Police Officers who went to Erika's house are to be commended for the speed and humanity of their actions."

Seniors taskforce co-chair Kate Jones praised Mrs Freingruber for reaching out to the Care Army for assistance.

"This is what the Care Army is all about - looking out for our seniors in self-isolation who need help," Ms Jones said.

"It's great to hear about people like Mrs Freingruber, who had the confidence to put her hand up for help.

"That act may have saved her life.

"Huge thanks to the Care Army volunteer who sounded the alarm.

"We need more people like this in the world."

To support seniors who don't have family, friends or neighbours to provide assistance, register for the Care Army on the Community Recovery Hotline 1800 173 349.


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