Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Caregiver caught slapping patient on hidden camera charged with assault

Cascades retirement village is billed as Hamilton's most luxurious. Photo / File
Cascades retirement village is billed as Hamilton's most luxurious. Photo / File

A caregiver allegedly caught on covert camera footage hitting and slapping an elderly man in a rest home has been charged with assault.

Allan Hemi, son of Piri Hemi, received a phone call from police late last night about the woman's arrest which he says has brought a huge sense of relief to the family.

His father, who has dementia and is unable to sit up or feed himself, can allegedly be seen in footage being hit while at The Cascade's Rest Home in Hamilton.

The rest home confirmed the staff member allegedly involved has since resigned.

Allan Hemi told the Herald he initially decided to put his father in the rest home as it was spacious and the staff seemed friendly.

Hemi, his mother, Betty, and his wife, Priscilla, visited him twice a day to make sure he was okay.

"You would hear him before you see him. He was always whistling and singing."

However, during a visit about three weeks into his stay he noticed that his normally happy father suddenly stopped not only the whistling but talking as well. Then, in a visit not long after, he said 'hello' to his father and waved his hand above his head.

His father then cowered and curled over.

"He stopped singing, stopped whistling and wouldn't hardly even talk to us."

Then it happened again.

"We just freaked and thought 'that's not my dad'.

Hemi says they spoke to management about their concerns.

The family said they decided to install a covert camera.

News of the arrest "has been a weight off our shoulders", Hemi said today.

Police confirmed a woman was arrested yesterday and had been charged with assault.

She had been bailed and will appear in Hamilton District Court on Thursday.

In a statement, the Waikato DHB said the care shown in the footage was "unacceptable".

"No further action can be taken by the DHB against the caregiver. However there are questions about The Cascades' timeliness of actions taken with the caregiver."

A Cascades spokesperson said the incident was a "one-off" and came as a big shock.

"Cascades has never had any complaints of staff misconduct towards residents since opening 10 years ago."

- NZ Herald

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