'Evidence of neglect' at rest home

By Martin Johnston

DHB takes charge of Sylvia Park establishment after management failings exposed by surprise inspection

The Sylvia Park Rest Home in Longford St, Mt Wellington. Photo / Google Maps
The Sylvia Park Rest Home in Longford St, Mt Wellington. Photo / Google Maps

A health authority has taken charge of a rest home after planning and management failings amounting to "evidence of neglect".

The Auckland District Health Board appointed a temporary manager to run the Sylvia Park Rest Home in Mt Wellington following an unannounced inspection by the Ministry of Health in July.

The rest home is paying for the manager. Its own clinical nurse manager was put on leave with pay and has since left the rest home.

The inspection report, now publicly available on the ministry website, says the inspection was made because of a complaint by the Health and Disability Commissioner raising "serious concerns about the safety of vulnerable residents" at the 47-bed rest home and hospital. The complaint was "substantiated".

"No evidence of abuse was found, however there is evidence of neglect and this is related to the lack of a comprehensive and accurate nursing assessment of residents," the report said.

The DHB's temporary manager, Cindy Holmes, who helped conduct the initial assessment of all residents, told the Herald that there had been "no physical abuse or neglect ... it's all to do with documentation. The residents were well looked after; it's a happy place."

In the ministry's report, other findings included:

•"Management does not have training in health care provision for the elderly."

•"There is little clinical oversight and staff management in place to ensure resident safety."

•"... care plans were written without clear guidelines for staff to follow regarding safe care of residents."

The inspection found adverse events were not documented, residents' families were not always told things they should be informed of, and there was no process for ensuring the necessary number and types of staff (such as registered nurses) were on duty.

One of the owners, Wen Ying Xu, who is also an owner of the 22-bed Kindred Rest Home in Epsom, said Sylvia Park was making progress in addressing the issues identified in the inspection.

She is advertising to recruit a registered nurse to be the new clinical manager.

DHB chief planning and funding officer Denis Jury said: "Things are progressing positively and we hope to have a manager appointed in the next few weeks."

The ministry receives about 150 complaints about rest homes a year. In the 2010/11 year, the Health and Disability Commissioner received 102 complaints about rest homes, which was 9 per cent of all complaints about health and disability provider organisations.

- NZ Herald

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