A Mount Warrigal aged care worker sprayed cleaning product into one elderly resident's eyes, and slapped four others in her care, a court has heard.
Shakuntala Mudaliar has pleaded not guilty to five counts of common assault of patients, aged between 74 and 87, at Warrigal Warilla late last year.
On the first day of the hearing at Wollongong Local Court, police prosecutor Rob Casey said that each of the five residents had resided in the high care dementia wards of the facility and were "unwell to the extent they were unable to communicate verbally".
"They need care in virtually every sense - washing, toileting, feeding," Sergeant Casey said. A number of the residents, which the Mercury has chosen not to name, have since died.
In court on Wednesday, Warrigal Warilla care worker Roshiny Ditto gave evidence that she had witnessed Mudaliar assault four patients on separate occasions during the latter part of 2018.
Ms Ditto said that Mudaliar had slapped one elderly female resident on the right side of the face, causing redness, and told her to "F*** off" while the pair were trying to re-dress her after a sponge bath.
On another occasion, she said that Mudaliar had slapped a male resident "two or three times on the arm" when he resisted their efforts to change his sanitary pad.
Another male resident was slapped "on his right leg and buttocks" by Mudaliar, Ms Ditto said, when he refused to open his legs to be placed in a lifting device.
On the final occasion, Ms Ditto said she was in the dining room with two other colleagues when she witnessed Mudaliar spray cleaning product directly into a female resident's eyes from a distance of around 30cm.
"Her eyes went red and she started to cry," Ms Ditto said.
Another worker, Anu Mohan, told the court that he had witnessed Mudaliar slap another female resident who had bitten her on the forearm while being undressed for a shower in October.
During the cross examination, barrister Stephen Russell queried why the two workers had not reported the alleged assaults on the days they had witnessed them - but weeks later in December.
Mr Mohan said he had not initially reported the incident as there had been no other witnesses; Ms Ditto said she had been "scared" to report it.
The court also heard from the facility's clinical care co-ordinator at the time, Aileen Keegan, who was informed of the alleged assaults by Ms Ditto and Mr Mohan on December 22.
Ms Keegan deferred the matter to her manager, who later that day told Mudaliar to leave the premises, pending an investigation.
In his cross examination, Mr Russell asked Ms Keegan why his client hadn't been given an opportunity to tell her side of the story that day.
"There were two workers who have said she's mistreated some patients and she's denied it ... you dismissed this lady without any proper investigation," he said.
Lake Illawarra Police Senior Constable Jacqui Chadwick attended the facility on December 24 and visited the residents, and interviewed staff. On January 2, she arrested Mudaliar at her home.
The hearing continues before Magistrate Mark Douglass on Thursday.