Rest-home nurse did not try to resuscitate collapsed man

A nurse and Hokitika rest-home have been told to apologise after a man in their care was not resuscitated, even though an ambulance officer later found he was still warm.

Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall said on Monday the registered nurse had breached the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights in failing to attempt resuscitation on a collapsed man.

The man was admitted to the rest-home for respite care after surgery in 2016.

He discussed his wishes regarding resuscitation in the event of a collapse with the GP at the rest-home. The man read an information pamphlet about resuscitation and completed a ''resuscitation status'' consent form. He ticked the option on the consent form that expressed his wish to be resuscitated, and signed the form.

He did not sign a ''do not resuscitate'' order.

Early one morning, a nurse discovered the man partially clothed and unconscious in the bathroom.

She called for help and conducted a brief ''signs of life'' assessment, but did not attempt to resuscitate him.

The nurse left the man lying uncovered on the floor and called an ambulance. She then attended to other duties.

The ambulance officer attempted to resuscitate the man, but her attempts were unsuccessful.

The ambulance officer later told the commissioner the man was still warm when she arrived.

Ms Wall said yesterday the nurse should have attempted to resuscitate the man, and her decision not to do so was a failure to provide an essential and potentially life-saving service to the man.

In addition, the registered nurse made only a brief assessment for signs of life, left the man alone at the scene, and did not protect his dignity by covering him.

The nurse failed to provide services to the man with reasonable care and skill.

Ms Wall found the rest-home, owned by Ultimate Care Group, vicariously liable for the actions of the registered nurse, as it had not taken reasonably practicable steps to prevent the conduct from occurring.

Ms Wall referred the registered nurse to the director of proceedings, to decide whether proceedings should be taken.

She also recommended that the registered nurse provide a written apology to the family and undertake training in resuscitation. The rest-home was also asked to apologise to the family and review its policy and documentation regarding resuscitation.

Ultimate Care Group general manager clinical services Carole Kaffes said it

had been working with the commissioner's office ''since the complaint was made in 2016 and the commissioner was satisfied with our corrective actions put in place''.

Allen Bryant rest-home was audited in March 2017 for its routine certification audit, which showed it was fully compliant with the Heath and Disability Services Standards, she said.

- By Laura Mills


An appalling model of practice before the Complaint, then.