Answers wanted after bath death in care

A SYDNEY mother is preparing to lay her daughter to rest after she died at a group care home but that won’t stop her demanding answers from authorities.

Merna Aprem, who had autism and epilepsy, had lived at a group home in Sydney’s west for a few months when she slipped below the water in the bathtub and drowned last Thursday, her mother Tanya Petrus told AAP.

The 20-year-old will be laid to rest at funeral scheduled for next week.

Ms Petrus, a single mother of six children, is demanding to know how her daughter could have been left alone to die.

Fearing her daughter might fall down the stairs or collapse in the shower, Ms Petrus decided she needed 24-hour care.

NDIS funding and meticulous research led her to Afford, which operates group homes in Sydney’s west.

The last time Ms Petrus spoke to Merna was on the phone on the morning of May 23.

But NSW Police were called about 7pm that night after Merna was found unconscious in the bath. Paramedics were unable to save her.

“Inquiries suggest drowning was the woman’s cause of death,” NSW Police told AAP on Thursday. “A report will be prepared for the coroner.”

Afford’s executive manager of client services, Casey Hailes, believes the young woman had a medical episode.

Ms Hailes told AAP that Afford is yet to be provided with a formal cause of death.

Ms Hailes said the home was “without a doubt” staffed correctly and with sufficiently experienced employees last Thursday.

But, Ms Hailes said, Afford had not been made aware of Merna’s overnight seizures and, if that information had been disclosed, they would have submitted documents to the NDIS and applied for funding to properly meet those needs.

Afford has hired an external investigator to examine the incident which has been reported to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

© AAP 2019