Human Rights Review Tribunal,  HRRT 31, (14 June 2019)
The Director of Proceedings filed proceedings by consent against the defendant, Evelyn Page Retirement Village Ltd (“EPRV”), in the Human Rights Review Tribunal regarding the care of an 84-year-old man (“Mr A”) who had multiple co-morbidities, was recovering from surgery, and who had been offered complimentary care by the defendant.
Mr A was living with his wife in a town-house within the rest-home facility owned and managed by the defendant. In early 2016, Mr A required surgery. Following the surgery, Mr A was unable to weight-bear on one leg. He also had an indwelling catheter, which was causing him some difficulties. Mr A required additional care and, on 1 April 2016, was offered 48 hours’ complimentary short-term care (“complimentary care”) by the defendant. While complimentary care was usually facilitated in the defendant’s rest-home unit, at the time of events the rest home was full, and Mr A was placed in the defendant’s serviced apartment building. There was no formal admission process for admitting Mr A to the serviced apartment.
On the morning of 2 April 2016, Mr A’s catheter began to leak, and he was told by a staff member that he would need to have it attended to at the hospital. Mr A was asked by the staff member to contact a family member to take him to hospital. Mr A was unable to make contact with the family member and so did not go to the hospital. Believing that Mr A had made contact, the staff member recorded in the handover notes that he had gone to the hospital. As a consequence, Mr A did not receive any assistance, oversight, or food throughout the day until 8pm, when his wife came to visit him and advised a staff member that he had not received dinner. This staff member did not record on the handover sheet that Mr A was in the serviced apartment and, as a consequence, Mr A did not receive any oversight, assistance, or food between 9pm on 2 April 2016 and 11am on 3 April 2016, when a family member came to visit Mr A, which alerted staff that he was in the apartment. Mr A was found to be wet and cold, confused, in pain, and not dressed adequately. His catheter bag had become unattached, and his bed and clothing were covered in urine. Mr A had been unable to reach his call bell, his mobile phone, or any water. Mr A was transferred to hospital, where he was found to be dehydrated and to have a blocked catheter.
EPRV accepted that its failures in care amounted to a breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code), and the matter proceeded by way of an agreed summary of facts. The Tribunal was satisfied that EPRV failed to provide services to Mr A with reasonable care and skill, and issued a declaration that EPRV breached Right 4(1) of the Code.