A Christchurch woman who is under the care of the Canterbury DHB's mental health services has been admitted to hospital in such an emaciated state that her family fear she was days away from dying.
The 61-year-old woman - who RNZ has agreed not to name - has been treated for mental health issues since she was a teenager and lives with one of her brothers in Christchurch.
Another brother, Geoff Aitken, said his sister was visited by a case worker last week and found weighing 44kg - down from around 90kg - in clothes soiled with urine and faeces and with an infected burn on her leg.
He said Canterbury District Health Board was supposed to be doing regular checks on his sister, and there needed to be answers about how often she was being visited.
"I personally feel that if she hadn't been got by the caregiver in that time when they finally caught it, I would say that within a couple of days she may not have made it."
Mr Aitken, who also lives in Christchurch, said he is estranged from his brother, and unable to visit his sister at home.
Another sibling, Jenny Chobdzynski, who lives in Australia, said it was her understanding her sister should be visited at least once a month, but she did not believe that had been happening.
She said the family was yet to get an update from the DHB about what happened.
The Canterbury DHB has been contacted for comment, but has not yet responded.