11 Apr 2018

Apology comes years after resthome resident assaulted

12:53 pm on 11 April 2018

It's taken more than two years for health authorities to send an apology to the family of a man hit by a resthome worker.

Hamilton District Court

Hamilton District Court. Photo: RNZ

In 2016, Sonali Ananta Deo was convicted and discharged at the Hamilton District Court of assaulting 86-year-old Piri Hemi at Cascades Retirement Resort in the city.

The then healthcare assistant had been filmed by a video camera hidden in a digital clock and caught slapping and manhandling Mr Hemi.

According to a deputy Health and Disability Commissioner, Rose Wall, family members had installed the camera after becoming suspicious about his treatment.

Ms Wall said in her report, released today, that the video showed that "Mr A was in bed and, while trying to provide his cares, Ms C dragged him roughly across the bed, slapped his hip and tapped him five times on the side of his face".

She said Deo (who is identified only as Ms C but was named in the earlier court proceedings) had also thrown the bed linen on the floor "which would not be accepted as good hygiene or infection control practices".

Ms Wall said the actions of Deo and the resthome breached patient rights.

She said Deo had said she needed help to lift Mr Hemi but no one was available at the time to assist.

Ms Wall added: "I note that Ms C did not report her tiredness or stress to management.

"In my view, these factors do not excuse her having struck Mr A, her rough handling of Mr A, and her lack of compliance with good hygiene practices. I acknowledge that working with elderly residents can be challenging.

"However, the use of unreasonable force is completely unacceptable."

Ms Wall has referred Deo to the office's independent director of proceedings for possible further legal action.

Mr Hemi has since died, but his son Allan said the family was still waiting for an apology, and it was upsetting.

The new resthome owners say they were asked by the Health and Disability commissioner's office to send an apology through them, and did so on 24 March.

Health and Disability Commission said apologies by Deo and the resthome were sent to the family yesterday.