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Hidden camera installed by concerned granddaughter captures mistreatment at rest home

The Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner says the "dignity and independence" of a rest home resident was breached, as a hidden camera installed by a concerned granddaughter captured mistreatment of her grandmother by rest home staff.

A senior woman walking down a corridor with the assistance of a walker (file picture). Source: istock.com

Deputy Commissioner Rose Wall today released a report where she found a healthcare trust, operating a rest home, in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code) for failing to respect the dignity and independence of a rest home resident.

The report outlines the woman was a full-time resident of the unnamed rest home, requiring hospital level care.

"She had a complex medical history which included vascular dementia. Previously, she had been living at home with her husband," the report states.

"She became wheelchair-bound and bed-bound, and was reliant on staff for cares. Over the course of two months, the woman had a number of falls."

After becoming concerned, the report outlines that the woman's granddaughter placed a hidden camera in the woman's room.

"The footage provided to HDC showed the woman being treated roughly by staff, and appearing distressed.

"The woman was rarely acknowledged or spoken to by the HCAs, and there was little indication that cares were explained to the woman before they were carried out, as her care plan indicated they should have been.

"In one video, an HCA is seen using her mobile phone in front of the woman while the woman was nude from the waist down."

Deputy Commissioner Rose Wall was "troubled" by the footage saying it "painted a troubling and disappointing picture of the care provided to the woman".

"The right to be treated with respect and dignity applies to all consumers universally," said Wall. "However, where a consumer is vulnerable and less able to advocate for their own interests, providers need to be particularly sensitive to the need to treat that consumer with respect and ensure that services are provided in a manner that respects their dignity."

A number of recommendations were made by Wall to address the issue at the facility and others run by the trust.

She also recommended the trust apologise to the woman's family.