Hot on the heels of the Herald’s investigation into aged care, which revealed various incidents of poor care, another rest home has been found failing in the care of one of its residents.

A report, released yesterday by Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall, outlined how video footage recorded by a secret camera installed by the resident’s family in his room showed a healthcare assistant throwing the man’s bedclothes to the floor and slapping his hip once, and giving him five quick slaps on the head before dragging him roughly across the bed.

The resident also suffered several falls, and while these incidents were recorded along with “actions to prevent recurrence”, there is no evidence that a multidisciplinary meeting was called or a recliner chair was trialled as planned.

Accordingly, the rest home, Cascades Retirement Resort in Hamilton, and a healthcare assistant were found in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights for failings in their care. The healthcare assistant was convicted with assault last year.

Deputy Commissioner Wall considered the healthcare assistant’s actions towards the elderly man amounted to a “very serious departure from fundamental ethical and legal standards”. She was also critical of the rest home for not updating his care plan; its management of his falls risk; its poor monitoring; its incident management; and its communication issues with the man’s family. A number of recommendations to the rest home have been made.

The report outlined that the rest home has already made a number of changes and improvements and the healthcare assistant and the rest home have both apologised.

The case is likely to attract further scrutiny of the residential aged care sector, after the Herald’s recent investigation resulted in calls for a consumer watchdog for the sector.

However, a recent article by INsite revealed aged care providers’ concerns about a tendency for the media to extrapolate these relatively isolated incidents across the whole sector. Providers said self-monitoring and internal checks are standard practice in the industry, alongside Ministry of Health certification and surveillance audits.

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