Havelock North rest home apologises to family of elderly woman after critical report

Havelock North rest home apologises to family of elderly woman after critical report


Waiapu House provides rest home and hospital level care in Havelock North.

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Waiapu House provides rest home and hospital level care in Havelock North.

A rest home in Havelock North has been forced to apologise to the family of an elderly woman after the Health and Disability Commissioner found it had provided inadequate care.

The woman aged in her nineties, ‘Mrs B’, moved into Waiapu House for respite care for four months until she died in March 2018. She suffered from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, Parkinson’s disease and a sacral pressure injury.

Waiapu House, run by Heritage Lifecare Ltd, provides rest-home and hospital-level care for up to 74 residents.

Mrs B’s daughter complained to the commissioner, saying she felt let down by the way her mother was treated and that her mother had spent the last eight weeks of her life in pain.

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She also questioned whether there was adequate staffing levels at the rest home.

Nursing staff told the commissioner there had been high staff turnover and “burn out”, with difficulty finding staff.

Mr’s B’s daughter said she spent the last eight weeks of her life in pain

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Mr’s B’s daughter said she spent the last eight weeks of her life in pain

They said they rarely had breaks and shifts were extended in order to ensure appropriate staffing levels.

This meant there had not been enough time to complete a mandatory ‘InterRAI’ assessment of Mrs B. This assessed the needs in her care.

Rest home management told the commissioner the facility had never had insufficient staffing, and did not believe there had been insufficient time to complete an assessment.

When Mrs B’s health deteriorated the rest home failed to complete a ‘Last Days of Life Care Plan’ as required by the Ministry of Health.

Norah Barlow, chief executive of Heritage Lifecare, which owns a string of rest homes in NZ. (File pic)

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Norah Barlow, chief executive of Heritage Lifecare, which owns a string of rest homes in NZ. (File pic)

The rest home said it regretted its nursing staff had not followed procedures.

The rest home had also failed to complete a ‘Lifestyle Care Plan’, covering Mrs Bs interventions, care and goals within the specified timeframe.

Deputy health and disability commissioner Rose Wall released her findings on the failures on Monday.

“I consider that the care provided to the woman was inadequate, and resulted in appropriate assessment and interventions not being actioned to manage her pain and end-of-life care,” Wall said.

She acknowledged this had occurred “during a period of organisational instability at the facility with staff turnover and managerial change”, but said it was “Heritage Lifecare Ltd’s responsibility to ensure continuous care for her during this time of organisational instability”.

Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall made several recommendations. (File pic)

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Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall made several recommendations. (File pic)

She recommended that the company undertake regular clinical documentation audits, schedule education sessions for nursing staff on pain management and provide a written apology to the family.

Wall found no breaches were made in relation to pain management.

Heritage Lifecare chief executive Norah Barlow said they accepted the findings and “we are sorry that in this case there were several deficiencies in the paperwork relating to the care provided to the resident.”

“We are reassured that the deputy commissioner also found the actual care provided to the resident was in keeping with expected standards. However, we acknowledge this was a distressing time for the resident’s family. We have apologised to the family and changes have been made,” Barlow said.

“It is important to note that the failures took place in early 2018, during a period of significant staff turnover at Waiapu Lifecare. With the myriad of improvements, investment and changes made since, we would not expect this issue to be repeated,” she said.



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