Royal District Nursing Service 'lacks compassion' - former client

Former Royal District Nursing Service client Michele O'Sullivan is unhappy with the care she received from the organisation.
PHIL McCARTHY/FAIRFAX NZ

Former Royal District Nursing Service client Michele O'Sullivan is unhappy with the care she received from the organisation.

Two more Invercargill people are questioning a home support service - one alleging poor treatment, while the other is querying the organisation's client support.

Stuff reported last week that Invercargill woman Fiona Turnbull had to sleep overnight in her wheelchair after Royal District Nursing Service New Zealand carers failed to front, leaving her unable to go to the toilet and feeling frustrated and stressed.

The service said it was investigating the incident to ensure similar incidents did not happen and the Southern District Health Board, which contracts the organisation for home support services, apologised to Turnbull.

Michele O'Sullivan, 66, who has been in a motorised wheelchair for about 30 years, said the Royal District Nursing Service withdrew its services from her because of complaints about her, complaints which she disputes.

She had been frustrated with the service but denied being rude to carers, she said.

She moved into Peacehaven about three weeks ago and said she felt bullied by the service, describing the care as not up to scratch at times and lacking compassion.

Invercargill woman Margaret Jones said she called the Royal District Nursing Service's 0800 number for two weeks and left messages with the service with no response when she was trying to arrange temporary care after an operation.

The 73-year-old said she had previously dealt with the Disabilities Resource Centre and found it to be great to deal with. She ended up arranging her own carer after her latest operation, she said.

She contacted the media  because she did not want people to think that Turnbull's experience was an isolated incident, she said.

"I didn't want people to think that she was a one off that was an unfortunate mistake, because I'm an unfortunate mistake as well."

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Royal District Nursing Service South Island service-delivery manager Adele Knowles said the centralisation of the service had created some problems with communications systems and processes.

The investigation into Turnbull's case showed a system mistake in which messages had not been passed on, and was part of a wider probe into the service's centralised 0800 number.

The service had been receiving feedback on a variety of issues relating to its service and Knowles said she was addressing them "as things cropped up".

"What's evident is that some of the local stuff has been covered up by people doing work-arounds."

In some instances this meant staff had been going the extra mile in the past, but this had not been encapsulated into the new system, Knowles said.

"We obviously want it to be right. There's no two ways about it."

In relation to O'Sullivan's case, she could not comment on it as she was not familiar with it, but added that service was not withdrawn lightly, she said.

   

 - The Southland Times

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