A Christchurch rest home says there will be a full investigation after a woman with dementia took a car and drove to Ashburton.

The resident in her late 70s took a staff member's car from the Oaks Care Home earlier this month.

A letter from the DHB shows she'd been reassessed just three weeks before she fled - after staff reported her as having 'significant safety risks.'

It said staff had increased their vigilance, checking on the woman at least hourly.

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The Oaks Care Home spokesperson Rob Benefield said the woman took a staff member's car.

He said the fact the keys were left inside was 'not good' and he has spoken with staff.

The resident has now been moved to Wellington.