The New Zealand Herald
Carer may face further action over slapping patient, 86
A rest-home carer who was convicted of assault for slapping and dragging an elderly dementia patient could face further legal action.
Sonali Ananta Deo, 23, was caught manhandling and slapping Piri Hemi in 2016 after Hemi’s family had a camera installed in his room. The Hemis were concerned about the 86-year-old’s care at the Cascades Retirement Resort in Hamilton.
They installed the camera after incidents in which Hemi fell and was hurt when staff were not watching.
Deo was filmed in June 2016 removing Hemi’s bedclothes and throwing them on the floor, slapping his hip and head and dragging him roughly across the bed. Hemi died in January 2017. At Deo’s sentencing in the Hamilton District Court in March last year, Judge Kim Saunders did not accept Deo’s defence that her inexperience and lack of training led to her actions.
Deo was convicted of assault but discharged without penalty.
The Health and Disability Commission released a decision yester- day finding that Deo had breached the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights. Her actions toward Hemi, “an elderly and vulnerable individual, amounted to a very serious departure from fundamental ethical and legal standards”.
The healthcare assistant has been referred to the Director of Proceedings, who can take action including legal proceedings in the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and Human Rights Review Tribunal.
The commission also found Cascades breached the code by failing to provide services to Hemi with reasonable care and skill.
The home has acted on commission recommendations including improving its training on challenging behaviour, abuse and stress management. — Dubby Henry