Auckland rest home investigating claims of disturbing abuse of elderly patient

A Pukekohe rest home is investigating after a terminally ill man's concerned daughter claimed he was left with maggots in his feet and faeces around his room.

On Wednesday, RadioLIVE's Mark Sainsbury received a call from a woman called Corina, who shared her appalling claims of elderly abuse at Palms Lifecare.

She says that since her elderly father was moved to the rest home, she and her brother have witnessed countless examples of neglect.

These include faeces scattered throughout his room, blood in his eye, maggots in his feet, and a refusal to provide any pain relief medication stronger than paracetamol.

The rest home's CO David Renwick told Newshub the allegations are a "huge concern".

"Obviously anything remotely like that, we don't like," he says.

Mr Renwick said an independent inspector or clinical nurse from the local District Health Board would be investigating the claims on Thursday afternoon.

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

Corina told RadioLIVE 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 says this has only trapped the maggots inside them.

"It is not okay for people to have maggots on them," she told Sainsbury.

Corina has discovered faeces spread throughout her father's room, and says she has found him "covered in flies" multiple times.

"The smell was overwhelming in his room," she says. "I kept saying to them - this is not okay. He's not dead yet."

Corina alleges her father even warned her family to change their visiting times, telling his daughter that "they know when you're coming".

But she says that despite complaining to the rest home, nothing has been done and the "inhumane" conditions continue. Corina says the workers just "smile at you, nod and walk away".

A senior compliance manager has met with Corina since she went on air on Wednesday morning. An independent doctor has also visited her father, and will be reporting to Mr Renwick about the state of his health.

Corina says due to the "massive shortage" of rest home care, there are no alternatives for her father.

"I think it's way more common that the public is aware of," she told RadioLIVE.

"You don't have options. You can't go anywhere else."

She's not the only one calling for attention to be drawn to 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.

Palms Lifecare will be releasing the findings of both an in-house and an independent investigation into the claims.

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

Health & Disability Commissioner - 0800 55 5050

Human Rights Commission - 0800 496 877

Seniorline (for residential care complaints) - 9 375 4395