Rest home under fire for ‘inhumane’ care of terminally ill patient

Morning Talk 08/03/2018
Photo: Getty.

Update: Corina's father sadly passed away in the early morning on Friday. 

It all started when a Morning Talk listener emailed the studio in February, dismayed after hearing one rest home restricted showers to only twice a week.

Rest home spokespeople disputed such claims, but stories kept trickling in from people who worked in the industry.

On Wednesday, Mark Sainsbury received a call from a woman named Corina who shared one of the most appalling stories yet.

Corina’s terminally father was moved to Palms Lifecare in Pukekohe, where she describes “inhumane” care continues to take place.

Since his admittance to the rest home, Corina and her brother said they've witnessed countless examples of neglect – including faecesscattered throughout his room, blood in his eye, maggots in his feet, and getting nothing stronger than paracetamol for his pain relief. 

The smell was overwhelming in his room.

Corina said her dad even warned her family to change their visit times, telling his daughter that “they know when you’re coming”.

Despite continuously expressing their outrage to Palms Lifecare, Corina said that the workers “just smile at you, nod and walk away”.

Corina explained that with the “massive shortage” of rest home care, there was no choice but to stick with Palms Lifecare.

“You don’t have options. You can’t go anywhere else,” she told RadioLIVE.

After discovering faeces spread throughout the father’s room, Corina and her brother requested that it be cleaned up immediately.

“The smell was overwhelming in his room,” she said.

But when they returned the next day, Corina said the faeces was still present in the room.

She also cited multiples times where she found her father “covered in flies”. After the rest home took no action, Corina's family bought a fan for his room to deter the flies.

“I kept saying to them - this is not okay. He’s not dead yet.”

Last week, Corina’s brother found his father getting his feet soaked by a caregiver. He told Corina that there were small maggots crawling up out of the water.

Corina said her father still has maggots underneath his toenails and that he “can feel them”. The rest home has since bandaged up his feet to prevent flies from getting in, but Corina said this is only trapping the maggots further. 

But Corina said that even with her regular requests for Palms Lifecare to improve his situation, the rest home has nothing.

She is not the only one calling for attention to be drawn on sub-standard care services.

In November, Consumer New Zealand said it's been seeing similar problems for a decade, and that it's time for an independent inquiry. 

The comment followed an incident where a man found his 92-year-old mother soaked in urine and unable to reach her call button. Disputes Tribunal ordered Bupa Care Services to pay $10,000 for how they treated the woman.

“I think it’s way more common that the public is aware of,” Corina told RadioLIVE.

“It is not ok for people to have maggots on them.”

If you have a concern with rest home care, RadioLIVE encourages you to reach out to one of the following helplines:

Listen to the full interview with Corina above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.