Calls for inquiry into care facility neglect

A man who found his 92-year-old mother soaked in urine and unable to reach her call button has been awarded $10,000.

The Disputes Tribunal has ordered Bupa Care Services to pay up for the way it treated Freda Love while she was a living in their Cambridge care facility.

"She was in a wet bed, a urine-soaked bed for many hours, and that happened on many occasions," says Robert Love, Ms Love's son.

He even paid an extra $52 a night so she could have a better room and premium service at the St Kilda Home. 

Mr Love was drawn to what he described as their impressive and persuasive marketing material. 

Freda only lived at the care home for four months, but in that time Mr Love says he repeatedly found her in substandard conditions due to "poorly trained staff" and "incompetence".

At other times she waited hours for assistance in a room that was swelteringly hot - over 30degC.

He complained to numerous agencies before going to the Disputes Tribunal, who found there was a "systemic failure to provide his mother a reasonable level of care".

"Really basic failings in care for this resident, nothing that any of us would like to happen to a relative," says Jessica Wilson from Consumer NZ.

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

"The systems aren't sufficient. If they were we wouldn't be seeing cases like Robert come across our desk, and we continue to see them despite the regulations that are in place," says Ms Wilson.

Mr Love is taking it a step further by calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

"We need to see urgent response from the regulating authorities, and why the so-called watchdogs need to be active," he says.

Bupa says they regret that Freda Love was distressed, and they apologise to the family.

They say they should have done better and they've made changes.

For Mr Love it's not about the money - he just doesn't want this to happen to anyone else.