Rest home res­i­dent slates care

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

‘‘I’ve been to hell and back.’’

Matt Gard­ner’s had enough.

A client of Ranui res­i­den­tial and con­va­les­cent home Em­mer­son House since 2013, Gard­ner is des­per­ately look­ing for al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The diabetic, who has lost half his left leg and is al­most to­tally blind, al­leges the 20 Em­mer­son res­i­dents are not treated well by staff who ‘‘ei­ther don’t give a stuff or are not equipped’’ to deal with peo­ple with high men­tal and phys­i­cal needs.

Gard­ner has listed a cat­a­logue of prob­lems and com­plained to the Health and Dis­abil­ity Com­mis­sioner, po­lice, Min­istry of Health, Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau and the own­ers of Em­mer­son House, NZCare Dis­abil­ity, but said his ef­forts had come to noth­ing.

Kapi-Mana News mes­sages to Em­mer­son House man­ager Vanessa Reeves were not re­turned, but Vicki Ste­wart, NZCare Dis­abil­ity group man­ager, said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was aware of Gard­ner’s con­cerns and ‘‘had been work­ing through [them] over a pe­riod of time now’’.

Ste­wart cited pri­vacy is­sues when asked about in­di­vid­ual com­plaints, and said she was not aware of other res­i­dents ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sim­i­lar prob­lems.

Gard­ner claimed res­i­dents in the Awa­tea St home had been pushed around and some had been left in var­i­ous states of dis­tress or un­dress in the day room.

He be­lieved staff had en­tered his bath­room with­out per­mis­sion while he show­ered and gos­siped about res­i­dents and spoke loudly about their ‘‘boozy’’ week­ends of­ten.

Gard­ner said his cell­phone and some of his al­co­hol had been stolen by other res­i­dents or staff, and Em­mer­son House was gen­er­ally un­tidy and not clean.

‘‘I’m prob­a­bly la­belled ‘dif­fi­cult’ but I’m past the point of car­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve been to hell and back in that place, and peo­ple need to know about it. I was re­ferred there and at the start it seemed fine, but it’s been a ter­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

He is on the wait­ing list for a suit­able Hous­ing New Zealand home. ‘‘I have to get out. Soon.’’ A staff mem­ber, who did not want to be named, sup­ported Gard­ner’s al­le­ga­tions.

‘‘He has le­git­i­mate com­plaints. There are things go­ing on that shouldn’t be – staff tak­ing breaks, leav­ing peo­ple [res­i­dents] with no care, and a lot of in­stances of ver­bal abuse. There’s a gen­eral kind of ne­glect and lack of pro­fes­sion­al­ism.’’

Chil­dren from Pare­mata Kinder­garten watch as wa­ter cas­cades into the grounds dur­ing Thurs­day’s del­uge. Porirua was hit by 36mm in one hour, caus­ing busi­nesses, homes and schools to be evac­u­ated. A per­fect storm of warm seas, a fast­mov­ing front and dry au­tumn ground were rea­sons for the flood­ing. Porirua bore the brunt of the down­pour, with five houses flooded and five schools closed. Most of the rain fell be­tween 8am and 9am and many peo­ple said it came down too fast for them to do any­thing about it. Ti­tahi Bay was one of the worst-hit places, but Whitby, Can­nons Creek, Els­don, Wai­tan­girua and Tawa all suf­fered. Porirua City Coun­cil’s emer­gency op­er­a­tions cen­tre ac­ti­vated at 10am and po­lice, fire and am­bu­lance ser­vices burst into ac­tion. Rangikura School, Ti­tahi Bay School, Marearoa Marae and Horouta Marae all opened their doors to peo­ple who couldn’t get home.

More pho­tos, P 12.

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