13 Apr 2015

Care for man 'totally unacceptable'

5:33 pm on 13 April 2015

A provider of home-based support services faces possible legal action over seriously substandard care given to a 35-year-old man with a significant intellectual impairment.

The man was left to watch television while his caregiver slept, and was pinched, hit and told to clean the toilet after he used it.

The public health watchdog said the provider had seriously failed on multiple counts.

Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall said Pasifika Integrated Health Care Limited was contracted to provide community activities for the man, known only as Mr B, for five hours two days a week, but he was left alone for long hours, and physically assaulted.

The unnamed caregiver it chose had no disability training and did not speak the same language as Mr B.

The two watched TV for long periods because of a lack of funds for petrol, and when they went fishing or shopping, Mr B had to wait in the car.

Ms Wall said it was a severe departure from accepted standards and totally unacceptable.

"To have a vulnerable young man with a significant learning difficulty who had impaired eyesight in his left eye; he didn't appreciate being left alone, and put in a situation where he was left watching TV for long extended periods of time; there were issues of physical assault; he was left in a vehicle unattended."

Ms Wall said the care was unsafe, little more than babysitting, and the hitting totally unacceptable.

She said a valuable opportunity to help him socialise and gain confidence had been lost.

Ms Wall has ordered Pasifika and the caregiver to apologise and referred them to the independent legal arm of her office.

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