The quality of a Dunedin service supporting the most
vulnerable elderly people in their own homes deteriorated
after Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) was dumped as service
provider, a carers' union says.
Figures from the Southern District Health Board show about a
third of clients who transferred from a special PSO pilot
scheme that allowed them to stay at home had since entered
Caregivers and Related Employees union advocate Mike Hanifin
said visits to clients were shorter, the service was
disorganised and the relationship between carers and employer
Access Homehealth was strained.
''It just isn't at the same level. It's a big step
The Rural Women New Zealand-owned provider said it was trying
to address the concerns, and any transition to a new provider
was bound to have teething issues.
Mr Hanifin said that during the transition to the health
board's new home care service issues arose in PSO's former
pilot programmes, which ran an intensive support service.
The new provider for high-support clients on the Taieri had
addressed teething problems without acrimony, Mr Hanifin
In contrast, the union found it difficult to engage with
Carers were required to cut visits short by about 10 minutes
to fit travel time into rostered hours, reducing time with
Rostering was disorganised, some clients missed out on
scheduled visits and carers did not feel able to raise
concerns. Access chief executive Graeme Titcombe acknowledged
there were ''issues around the perception around Community
Access was trying to resolve the issues, he said. Managing
travel times meant using resources in the most sensible way.
No transition period could be incident-free, Mr Titcombe
''There is no doubt that when you have a group of high-needs
clients like Community First there will be more issues that
arise from that.''
Community First clients received their old service, for now,
but would be formally reassessed in due course. No new
clients were placed on the programme.
''Community First does not exist anymore. It doesn't. There
is a new model of service and Community First is
nonexistent,'' Mr Titcombe said.
Southern District Health Board health of older people
portfolio manager Sharon Adler said by email: ''The service
is not of lower quality''.
''This restorative model of care provides a flexible service
and no longer operates an allotted time for visits,'' she
The board had dealt with two complaints from Community First
families since the provider switch-over started in March.
They related to missed carer visits, and issues with Access'
helpline number and its complaint resolution system.
''One of these complaints has been investigated and
corrective measures have occurred. The second complaint is
still under investigation,'' she said.
Forty-seven Community First clients transferred to Access and
28 remained. Most of those who were discharged had entered
residential care, although the exact number is unclear.