Rest home breaches care contract

More shortfalls have been found at St Kilda Care Home, less than a year since it was ordered to refund $10,000 for failing to provide reasonable care to a 92-year-old resident.

More shortfalls have been found at St Kilda Care Home, less than a year since it was ordered to refund $10,000 for failing to provide reasonable care to a 92-year-old resident.

Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson said an unannounced inspection shows there were still problems at the rest home in June this year and the facility was breaching its contract with the district health board.

St Kilda is located in Cambridge and owned by Bupa Care Services, a major provider of rest home care.

Ms Wilson said the inspection report, provided to Consumer NZ by the Waikato District Health Board, found the home was fully meeting only four of seven criteria that were assessed.

The inspection found:

  • Staff failed to respond to call bells within the home’s expected three-minute time frame, with some call bells left unanswered for more than 20 minutes.

  • Care planning standards varied among nursing staff. There were two instances where no plans were in place to treat residents’ medical needs. Four out of 12 long-term care plans had not been evaluated within the expected six-month time frame.

  • Corrective action plans weren’t in place to address improvements required following complaints and there was a lack of evidence to show residents’ family members were involved in care planning.

  • Additional staff training was also required. The inspection report stated the registered nurse designated as the “wound nurse champion” had not received adequate training.

Results of the unannounced inspection come seven months after the Disputes Tribunal found the home breached its obligations to provide services with reasonable care and skill to 92-year-old Freda Love. Bupa was required to pay $10,000 to her son, Robert Love, who took the case to the tribunal.*

On one visit to the home, Mr Love arrived to find his mother shivering under a thin blanket in a urine-soaked bed. Her room was cold, the window wide open and the call bell out of her reach.

Ms Wilson said the ongoing shortfalls at St Kilda highlight the problems with rest home monitoring and lack of adequate deterrents for breaches. A home’s failure to meet required standards may not be picked up unless there’s an unannounced inspection or a complaint is made.

As a result of the inspection in June, Bupa St Kilda has been required to:

  • Ensure all registered nurses undertake care plan training and that regular internal audits of care plans occur.

  • Ensure whānau input in care planning is documented and evidence of communication with the family is recorded.

  • Ensure all resident care plans have been evaluated at least every six months.

  • Ensure external wound management training is undertaken by the wound nurse champion.

  • Ensure call bell data are used for quality improvement processes.

  • Implement and evaluate comprehensive action plans to address problems following incidents, complaints and internal audits.

*Robert Love donated the $10,000 to Consumer NZ to establish the Freda Love Fund. The fund helps consumers take complaints against rest homes to the Disputes Tribunal by meeting the costs of filing a claim.

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