3 Sep 2013

Resthome at heart of 'distressing case' under close scrutiny - minister

8:35 pm on 3 September 2013

The Government says the Ministry of Health will closely monitor the owners of a Wellington rest home to ensure they make changes to stop residents from being ill treated.

A ministry spot audit of the Malvina Major retirement village found a host of failings in the care given to all the residents.

The audit was triggered by Susan Christian, who lodged a complaint about the village's owner, Ryman Healthcare, after discovering her mother covered in her own faeces on three occasions since the beginning of June.

Associate Minister of Health Jo Goodhew says the ministry has set deadlines for Ryman to make changes over what she described as "this distressing case".

She says if the corrective actions are not achieved, the ministry may take action under the Health and Disability Services Act 2001.

The changes needed include the home improving how it records complaints and making better care plans, which the ministry said were not individualised.

The ministry also found a lack of clinical leadership and a breakdown in communication between staff shifts.

Ryman Healthcare chief executive Simon Challies told Nine to Noon he accepted the ministry's findings.

"It was unacceptable that it could happen so many times," he said.

He says the company has acknowledged the deficiencies and addressed them. It has put a fulltime clinical support manager into the retirement village to work on the issues.

Mr Challies says staff will report to residents again this week on the changes made to fix the problems.

Complainant shocked by report

Susan Christian says she's shocked by the level of incompetence uncovered and wants the Ministry of Health to conduct spot audits of rest homes more frequently.

Ms Christian says she's been approached by other families with similar problems since raising the issue. She says basically they were just pushed to the side.

She says spot audits should be done every one to two years, rather than the current rate of every three to four.