Staffing was the main issue causing problems in rest homes, with often not enough staff on the ground or without the appropriate training, said Consumer New Zealand’s Jessica Wilson. Photo / 123RF

A major investigation by the Weekend Herald has revealed dire living situations in many rest homes across the country.

Consumer New Zealand’s Jessica Wilson has spent a decade researching care in rest homes and told Newstalk ZB the Government needs to step up and improve legislation to ensure a much higher standard for the vulnerable elderly.

Staffing was the main issue causing problems, often there were not enough staff on the ground or they did not have the appropriate training, Wilson said.

The regulations governing rest homes were not tight enough to deliver the standard of care required, she said.

The Government played a “key role” and needed to step up.

“It’s public money that goes into rest homes, both public and private, to fund staffing.”

The existing minimum staffing ratio was far too low – two caregivers were required per 50 residents according to the agreements between DHBs and rest homes providers, Wilson said.

That means there was about one hour a day of care for each resident, she said.

“The best evidence shows that the homes that have higher staffing levels tend to be not-for-profit homes,” she said.

Wilson said to be wary that “a flash-looking building” did not guarantee the best care.

“The main thing to look at is how many staff are there.

“What is their qualifications and what experience do they have delivering the care and the level of care that your family members needs.”

Good care “should be the norm, it shouldn’t be the exception”.

Source: NZ Herald


  1. The level of care may be hospital but needs vary tremendously! Not taken into account by management. It’s based on numbers not actual physical and often psychological needs!
    To provide hollistic care , physical, social and psychological you cannot go by numbers!! Management need to consider all of the above.
    Staff are working with sometimes a 10 min break in an 8 1/2 hr shift because they care.
    This leads to poorer care and staff burnout!!
    RNs are not able to focus on their role , care plans and documentation is often not accomplished because they are helping carers with basic cares!!!
    Already numerous incidents are reported . It’s due to lack of staff and RNs not given time to practice in accordance with their code of practice


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