In his final report as Health and Disability Commissioner, Ron Paterson has severely criticized rest homes and their inadequate care standards. He stepped down in March after being in charge as Commissioner stressed that many rest homes had a disturbing culture of non-compliance with the clearly mentioned policies and procedures.
The report mentioned the case of an 85 year old woman who passed away due to dehydration. The report stresses that the frail and vulnerable woman was not cared for properly and her condition deteriorated which eventually lead to her death.
The old woman was discharged from a public hospital after being treated for a fall and pneumonia in mid-2008. She was then placed in the care of the Summerset Rest Home and Hospital in the Upper Hutt suburb of Trentham.
It was mentioned in the discharge summary that the woman's hydration should be closely monitored. As a result, a hydration chart for the woman was maintained and staff was required to fill out that chart daily.
But her intake was not monitored properly and no steps were taken to alleviate her problems. As a result, the woman started coughing up blood-tinged sputum and her condition deteriorated rapidly. She was then transferred to a public hospital.
The woman passed away later due to dehydration and respiratory problems. The staff of the rest home was criticized severely for their actions and lack of care.