'See a psychiatrist': Aged-care boss comes under scrutiny

Helen Hardy says Opal Aged Care managing director Gary Barnier yelled at her.
Helen Hardy says Opal Aged Care managing director Gary Barnier yelled at her. ABC TV

THE Australian aged care industry is once again in damage control after disturbing accusations were levelled at the boss of one of the country's biggest nursing home chains.

Opal Aged Care managing director Gary Barnier has come under fire after he allegedly yelled at a family member of a former resident following complaints against the company, according to the ABC's 7.30 program.

Barnier even admitted to offering one family member $10,000 following the death of his mother who resided at one of the company's - which is half-owned by AMP - facilities.

"At the time it was my personal judgement that it was appropriate, given the particular circumstances that he raised with me," Mr Barnier told the program.

Helen Hardy claimed Mr Barnier engaged her in a "screaming match" after an employee struck her 84-year-old mother in 2013.

The employee, who has since been fired, claimed she hit Ms Hardy's mother because she saw lice.

Ms Hardy also alleged Mr Barnier told her "you need to see a psychiatrist" during the argument.

 Mr Barnier said he had no "recollection" of the conversation with Ms Hardy.

"I don't believe it ever happened," he said.

Opal Aged Care, previously called Domain Principal, once owned the Quakers Hill nursing home, where 11 elderly residents were killed in a fire in 2011. Nurse Roger Dean was subsequently convicted over the murders.

The 7.30 story follows on from an unrelated investigation by Fairfax Media and Four Corners into retirement giants Aveo.

However, Aveo hit back by claiming the investigation focused largely on the "industry business model" and "ignored" the work the company had produced to meet the growing needs of Australia's ageing population.


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