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Rest-home sex abuse case – caregivers need support

Sex abuse case in rest-home – Age Concern says caregivers need more support

Age Concern New Zealand – 11 December 2006, 11.00am


Rest-home staff urgently need to receive the training, pay and respect their complex jobs demand, Jill Williams, the national president of Age Concern New Zealand said today.

Age Concern New Zealand has been sent the Health and Disability Commissioner’s decision in a recent case, which found that faulty management of a sexually active dementia patient in a rest-home endangered other patients.

“Caregivers are dealing with some of society’s most vulnerable people. Ron Patterson’s findings suggest some may need more support,” Jill Williams said.

Older people have a right to safe residential care. In this case neither the male dementia patient, who has since died, nor the patients on the receiving end got enough protection. We also ask if the caregivers had the training they needed. They’re all victims here.

Age Concern also questions the label of ‘sexual predator’ given to the man, as this is an unfair description of a patient who may have lacked the capacity to make judgements.

Age Concern point out that dementia isn’t inevitable for seniors and it isn’t common: New Zealand has more than half a million older people; just 38,000 people have dementia.

Increasing numbers of older people, especially the over-80s, mean the number of people with dementia is increasing.

Age Concern is calling for more dementia training to be available to caregivers.

“Although there’s no cure, people with dementia can have happier and safer lives with good patient management and appropriate drug treatments,” Jill Williams says.

Age Concern says it’s time to begin planning for health care that will give people with dementia the help they need.

ENDS

Re: Health and Disability Commissioner Case 04HDC07008
Safety of rest-home residents with dementia (sexual abuse)

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