A rest home staffer who pulled a resident by the collar and pushed him out of a room behaved unacceptably, a Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) report has found.
The report, released to the public on Monday, found that the registered nurse's actions on March 29, 2018 were in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.
It notes that the elderly victim often becomes confused and disoriented due to his chronic schizoaffective disorder and vascular dementia, sometimes resulting in him becoming agitated and aggressive.
On the day of the incident, the rest home worker was walking out of the nurses' station when he saw the man in the lounge, kicking a glass pane in a door and causing it to shatter.
CCTV footage of the incident shows the nurse walk up to the man, grab him by the back of his collar and pull him away, knocking a cup out of his hands in the process. He then pushes the man out of the lounge.
The HDC report found the man did not appear to be agitated or to be resisting the nurse.
"The nurse submitted that he was reacting to an emergency situation at the time," the HDC found. "However, he acknowledged that he should have given the man more time to de-escalate, and should have obtained assistance from another staff member."
The nurse told investigators that he made efforts to think the matter through and settle it peacefully before resorting to physical force, but the HDC report says this is supported neither by the accounts of other staff nor by the CCTV footage.
"It is apparent that RN B [the nurse] came into the lounge and almost immediately took hold of Mr A [the resident]. There were approximately six seconds between RN B leaving the nurses' station and grabbing hold of Mr A," it reads.
"In my view, it is implausible that in those six seconds, RN B spoke to a caregiver, assessed Mr A for injuries, asked Mr A if he was injured or in pain and Mr A responding that he was fine, Mr A beginning to swing his body, RN B considering another resident becoming agitated and deciding to remove Mr A, and RN B asking Mr A three to four times to go to his room and Mr A ignoring him."
Deputy Commissioner Rose Wall said the nurse's response to the situation was unacceptable and disrespectful, representing "a departure from fundamental ethical and legal standards".
"[The man] had no family or friends to advocate on his behalf and, as such, he was especially vulnerable to abuse," she said.
The incident was spotted on CCTV footage by the nurse's colleague, who reported the incident to rest home management. Deputy Commissioner Wall says their actions are to be commended.
Following the investigation, the HDC recommended that the nurse attend training on de-escalation, restraint minimisation and person-centred care. He was also told to apologise to the resident in writing.
Deputy Commissioner Wall says the Nursing Council of New Zealand has also been asked to consider whether a review of the nurse's competence is warranted.