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Rest Home Care Of Woman With Dementia

Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall today released a report finding a rest home provider in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code) for failures in the care of a resident with dementia.

The woman was in her eighties at the time of events, and had severe dementia. She had recently been transferred to the rest home.

Following the woman’s admission to the rest home, staff did not undertake an interRAI assessment (a comprehensive clinical assessment), or implement an adequate care plan for food and nutrition which took into account her dementia. Towards the end of the woman’s stay, staff failed to identify and respond to signs of dehydration and deterioration. Sadly, the woman died shortly after being transferred to hospital.

Deputy Commissioner Rose Wall found that there were multiple failures in the services provided to the woman by the rest home. These included the failure to undertake adequate care planning for food and nutrition in a timely manner, a failure of multiple staff to identify and respond to signs of dehydration and deterioration, and a failure to undertake a skin scraping for suspected scabies in a timely manner.

"It was the responsibility of the rest home provider to have in place adequate systems to ensure that staff provided the woman with care of an appropriate standard and that complied with the Code," said Ms Wall. "In my view, a number of aspects of the care provided to the woman were deficient, and the failures of multiple nursing staff involved in the woman’s care demonstrate a pattern of suboptimal care."

Ms Wall recommended that the rest home provider give an update on its revised policies and procedures, report on the audits undertaken to monitor compliance with its Nutrition and Hydration policy, and use this case to provide continuing education to nursing staff at its facilities. The rest home has provided a written apology to the woman’s family.

The full report on case 19HDC00015 is available on the HDC website.

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