The Health and Disability Commissioner has recommended that a rest home provide further training to staff, and apologise to the family of a patient, after poor monitoring of her deterioration led to her death.

The patient had a number of existing health conditions and began to deteriorate. Despite the request of the family, the patient was not examined by a doctor.

After four days she was found almost unconscious in her room. Only then was the doctor contacted. When the doctor arrived, he noticed that despite being a diabetic, blood sugar levels had not been tested in the last four days.

Concerned by the patient’s condition, the doctor transferred her to hospital for urgent care but she died a few days later.

The Commissioner held that by failing to monitor the patient’s blood sugar, the lack of response to the declining condition, and failing to contact a doctor sooner, the rest home breached the patient’s right to be provided services with reasonable care and skill.

The Commissioner recommended that the rest home apologise to the patient’s family, provide education sessions for its nursing staff, and review its policy on clinical emergencies.

All healthcare providers are required to provide their services with reasonable care and skill. If there are concerns that the care you or a member of your family have been provided is not up to this standard, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

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Alan Knowsley
Medical Lawyer