Call for Reform Growing

senior woman eating her lunch at rest home

The call for fundamental reforms of the aged care sector is growing after a report into the death of a resident at a Timaru rest home.

The woman, aged in her 70s, could not get in or out of bed without assistance. She fell out of bed but the staff at the rest home claimed to have not been aware of how the woman suffered multiple fractures. An investigation said that it was most likely that someone was with her at the time of the fall.

There was a five-hour delay in calling an ambulance after the woman was found to have multiple fractures and she died a few days later.

Rose Wall, Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner, determined that the Radius Elloughton Gardens rest home in Timaru breached the Code of Care.

Wall said that "Significant systems issues were present at the rest home which in my opinion compromised the quality of the care provided to her".

Since the incident, the rest home has been working with the South Canterbury District Health Board to improve training for nurses and provide better care.

Industry commentators say this case isn't unique and reflects broader, systemic problems within the aged care sector. Addressing these issues should be a priority.

Over recent years, more cases have been reported with more families speaking out, including cases of abuse and neglect of residents.

In Australia, the recommendations from the Royal Commission enquiry have been extensive. Still, here in New Zealand, we are not making progress in voluntarily bringing about change.

Budget 2021 last week announced the new position of Aged Care Commissioner, but this is unlikely to be sufficient to bring about the fundamental reforms needed to transform the aged care model from profit-orientated to care-orientated.