Waiting for home help to arrive and worried that she would be left to fend for herself, 96-year-old Trixie Cottingham tried to make her own breakfast but ended up in hospital instead.

The Levin resident was in the media eye late last year when her home help hours were cut from 90 minutes to one hour a week.

Last week, when her home help did not arrive at 8am, and left feeling worried, Mrs Cottingham decided she couldn't wait any longer and got out of bed to make her own breakfast.

"I got my porridge with yoghurt and cereal in one hand and pushed my walker with the other," she said. "I made it all the way to my bedroom but then the next thing I know, I'm on the ground covered in porridge, yoghurt and blood."


Mrs Cottingham reached for her St John medic alert necklace and lay on the floor of her bedroom waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

"I was scared, there was porridge and blood all over me, it's a bit funny, but not really," she said.

Mrs Cottingham was taken to hospital where she received five stitches to her head, returning home on Monday after more than a week in hospital.

A spokesperson for Mrs Cottingham's home care provider, Health Care NZ, Eleanor MacTavish said they wished to extend their deepest sympathies to Mrs Cottingham and her family in regards to the injury she received at her home.

"Leading up to the incident we delivered services to Mrs Cottingham at varying times of the morning between 8am and 10.30am. We apologise for any miscommunication that might have occurred around the rostered time of arrival."

MacTavish confirmed its staff member arrived at the rostered time of 9am to provide support on February 11, at which time Mrs Cottingham had already been taken to hospital.

"Healthcare NZ Community Health is committed to supporting Mrs Cottingham's recovery and will work with MidCentral DHB to determine any changes that might be needed to her service."

Mrs Cottingham's ordeal was highlighted at an aged care meeting in Levin on Friday organised by Horowhenua GreyPower, Labour and the Green Party as part of a joint investigation into the care of elderly New Zealanders.

Labour's spokesperson on health Annette King said the cost of enabling someone to stay at home is a fraction of the cost of somebody in residential care.