Man lay injured while carer 'had feet up'

  • 31/10/2017
Medical staff moving patient through hospital corridor
Photo credit: Getty

A residential care facility has been slammed by a watchdog for not looking after a patient who had a brain injury, saying an employee tasked to look after the man was spotted "with his feet up" while the man lay injured and unkempt.

The patient, in his 50s, suffered a heart attack and a brain injury while in a public hospital, according to a report from Health & Disability Commissioner Rose Wall, released on Monday.

It was decided to transfer the man to a residential care facility for dementia and psychogeriatric residents, where he became agitated on his third day there. He broke his glasses, refused medication and then suffered a fall.

The healthcare assistant of the unnamed facility informed his boss of the patient's fall but did not include it in the progress notes, and neither he nor a nurse referred the patient to a doctor or inform the family.

The following day, another nurse noticed the patient had a black eye but did not record the injury or make any assessment.

When the patient's wife visited, she was distressed to find him injured in bed, "with the healthcare assistant sitting in the room with his feet up", said Ms Wall's report.

"Over the next few days, the man's condition deteriorated and he became more aggressive and resistant to carers. The man was increasingly violent, and he assaulted six staff members."

The man was eventually transferred back to the public hospital.

Ms Wall was critical of the man's care at the residential facility, saying planning, action after the patient fell, record-keeping, assessment and management was inadequate.

She recommended an audit of the facility's policies and procedures, better staff training, and an apology to the patient's wife from everyone involved in his care.