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Investigation finds failure of care

Yet another investigation has resulted in a highly critical report of care provided to an elderly rest home resident.

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It’s the fourth report involving a rest home released by the Health and Disability Commissioner’s office since October. Inspections of other homes by the Ministry of Health also resulted in a series of adverse reports last year.

In the latest investigation, Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Theo Baker has found Christchurch’s Middlepark Rest Home and Village failed to provide appropriate treatment to an elderly woman when she developed an infection.

The woman had been a resident at Middlepark (owned by major provider Oceania Care) since 2008. She was admitted to hospital in 2011 after developing a urinary tract infection, which staff failed to properly diagnose.

The woman was prescribed an antibiotic but no testing was done to ensure it had cleared the infection and staff weren’t aware she was resistant to the antibiotic. The investigation found the woman was in significant pain by the time she was admitted to hospital. She was not eating or drinking well, was experiencing nausea and vomiting, and had fallen several times. She died shortly after admission to hospital.

Ms Baker said the delay in sending the woman to hospital caused unnecessary distress and delayed appropriate treatment. Staff had also failed to inform the family of the woman’s deterioration, compounding the situation.

Ms Baker found the home and three registered nurses at the facility had breached the Code of Rights. Oceania Care has apologised to the family for its breaches.

Ongoing concern about the quality of rest home care prompted the government to start releasing full audit reports last year. The reports are being provided for a trial period but we think they should be made permanently available to give consumers more information about rest homes.

Anyone looking for a home should check the Ministry of Health’s website to see if a full audit report is available. We also publish a list of homes which have been the subject of investigations. This list and other information to help you choose a home is available free in our Rest homes report.

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