DHB accused of 'reckless speed' in closing rest home

MidCentral District Health Board has been accused of "reckless speed" in closing the Rosa A Lea rest home in Palmerston North over safety and other issues.

This week, the DHB issued a damning audit report, which slammed the home's patient care, hygiene standards, staff training and lack of registered nurse supervision.

Alarm about the home was sparked after photos appeared of a 103-year-old woman tied to her bed with a sheet.

The rest home was found to have failed more than 60 industry accepted practices, as well as legislation and agreement breaches.

The general manager of the DHB's funding division, Mike Grant, said the report was prepared by independent auditors from the central region's Technical Advisory Service (TAS).

"There were significant issues relating to the standard of care provided, poor incident management processes, unacceptable method of restraint, medication management, food services, insufficient cleaning standards and general hazards which placed residents at risk of harm."

But Aged Care Association chief executive Martin Taylor said the closure of the home was done with "reckless speed".

It was against the wishes of residents and their families.

"While the accuracy of the audit report is questionable in some areas, we do accept that improvements needed to be made to the building and the book- keeping.

"But these could have been done within a few weeks and would have saved the facility and residents' community."

Mr Taylor disputed the independence of the audit process as Central TAS was owned by six North Island DHBs.

"We note that Mike Grant from the DHB who made the decision to close Rose A Lea was also acting CEO of Central TAS recently."

Mr Taylor said it was also important to understand the home was closed before the audit report was written, which raised issues of procedural fairness.

"The question we all have to ask is was the hurried closure of Rose A Lea in the best interests of the 15 residents? The answer to that is a resounding no.

"As such, the MidCentral DHB managers who made these poor decisions need to be held to account."

- NZPA

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