The Health and Disability Commissioner has found a rest home and nurse breached their duties after poor care led to the death of a resident.

The elderly resident lived at the care facility due to age and mental health conditions. The resident relied on nursing staff to administer the correct medicines and monitor her health on a regular basis.

Over the course of two months several failings occurred. These included a failure to provide the patient’s medicines, poor record-keeping, not monitoring or acting on a reduced fluid intake, not detecting a fracture from a fall, and delaying blood tests ordered by a doctor for 4 days.

The patient was transferred to hospital, but died the next day. The blood tests showed signs of dehydration. The Coroner also noted that there was organ failure, likely due to infection from the fractured hip.

The Commissioner held the facility had breached the resident’s right to have services provided with reasonable care and skill under The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.

The facility was required to conduct a review of its services, undertake an audit, review staff training and induction, and provide an apology to the family. The Commissioner also referred a nurse to the Nursing Council to consider reviewing her competency.

Every person receiving a health service, regardless if it is from a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or care home, has the right to be provided that service with reasonable care and skill.

If you think the service you have been provided falls short of this standard it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

Alan Knowsley
Medical Lawyer