Elderly patient left alone
An 86-year-old Golden Bay woman, reliant on twice daily visits from carers, was left to fend for herself for long periods.
Golden Bay woman Melanie Walker said she was shocked to discover her 86-year-old mother, who receives daily in home support, had not been visited regularly for days.
‘‘It felt like actual neglect, I was quite alarmed.’’
Walker went to see her mother on Wednesday last week, who told her no carers had been to visit since Friday. She was still in her nightie and she hadn’t been bathed. Walker has since found out her mother was visited twice instead of the eight times she was supposed to receive care.
‘‘The bad thing about that was she was just sitting, waiting all the time for someone to come and she is quite frail, she can’t do anything by herself now.’’
Her mother said the situation had been so upsetting that she hadn’t eaten anything all day on Tuesday.
Walker’s mother, who did not want to be named, was visited by carers from Nurse Maude every morning and the afternoon to help bathe, dress and feed her. When they were unable to make it, Walker said she was usually notified by phone.
But Walker had received no such phone call.
Walker said she was ‘‘outraged’’ at what happened and she contacted Nurse Maude, who said they situation had arisen from a lack of support workers but they had recently recruited new staff which would resolve the issue.
‘‘I am going to work and making the assumption that other people are checking in on her. If I had known that no-one was going to be there I would have gotten a neighbour to call in or I would have put something else in place.’’
In August, Access Community Health and Nurse Maude were awarded five year contracts by Nelson Marlborough Health to provide home-based support services in the region, beginning on September 26.
After the contract changed over, Walker said during the first week the organisation seemed disorganised and there were intermittent instances where the carers were unable to make it, but Walker was always notified by phone.
Another Nelson resident Karen Dean said she also had issues with Nurse Maude since the providers had changed.
Dean, who has terminal cancer, said a support worker came every morning to help her shower and fit a medical device.
But recently, there was a stretch of five or six days where no one showed up. Dean said she had called Nurse Maude to alert them to the issue but was only able to leave a message, and no one had returned her calls.
Twice, there had been an ‘‘emergency response team’’ show up after a support worker had failed to.
‘‘They haven’t got a proper system in place for when staff ring up sick or holidays.’’
She said the uncertainty around whether a carer was going to show up added extra stress to her daily life.
‘‘It is frustrating because you are already dependent and you are vulnerable.
‘‘It’s taking my energy which is better spent fighting my disease.’’
She said the support workers were excellent, but they too seemed frustrated by the situation.
‘‘They have the same frustration as we have, only worse.’’
Nurse Maude general marketing manager Sue Bramwell said she was aware that recent visits had been missed when support worker was ill and a replacement was not immediately available. aren’t available for
She said Nurse Maude had since increased its staffing levels in the area to address the issue.
Bramwell said people or their families were contacted when Nurse Maude were aware a support worker was unable to visit.
A replacement support worker would then call with an estimated time of arrival.
‘‘Over recent weeks our phones have been very busy as we sought to maintain personal contact all our new clients.’’
She said those with high and complex needs would always take priority.
‘‘We acknowledge these clients did not get the timely response we would have liked.
‘We regret the distress this has caused them.’’