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Radius Elloughton Gardens in Marchwiel

by Greta Yeoman

Concerns raised by residents’ family members and Timaru Hospital emergency department staff led to the South Canterbury District Health Board’s involvement in the management of Radius Elloughton Gardens rest-home.

Last week, The Courier¬†reported the health board had installed a temporary manager at Elloughton’s aged-care facility in mid-December, in an attempt to improve its staffing.

Radius later clarified its manager was working with the SCDHB appointee.

However, a SCDHB spokeswoman said this week the health board had stepped in because of concerns raised by emergency department and other DHB staff and residents’ family members.

On Tuesday, Radius managing director Brien Cree acknowledged there had been issues at the aged-care facility.

“We take responsibility for the problem and our primary goal is making anyone affected feel safe and happy again”
–¬†Radius managing director Brien Cree

“[We] are sorry they affected the residents in our care. We take responsibility for the problem and our primary goal is making anyone affected feel safe and happy again,” he said.

The SCDHB said a meeting between Elloughton staff and health board representatives was held in November to address the concerns raised.

The meeting was also prompted by reports of two falls in the early hours, which resulted in fractures, and a quarterly report which found Elloughton was behind with its care plan assessments, the SCDHB said.

Radius Elloughton was asked to complete an internal investigation but when staff reported in mid-December, the SCDHB determined the process, quality and outcome of the investigation was “not satisfactory” and proceeded to install the health board-appointed temporary manager.

The Courier has been told of at least two incidents involving Elloughton residents.

One Timaru man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he knew of a former Elloughton resident who, when finally admitted to Timaru Hospital’s emergency department, “shocked” the doctors with her condition.

“It could be anyone’s parents or grandparents,” he said.

Radius managing director Brien Cree

The Courier was unable to contact the woman’s family by deadline.

Another woman spoke of her late husband, whose treatment at Elloughton had prompted her to file a complaint with the Health and Disability Commissioner.

The commissioner’s office confirmed it had received four complaints about Elloughton, which all related to inadequate/inappropriate care or treatment.

One complaint was received during the 2011-12 financial year, another in 2012-13, a third in 2016-17 and the fourth in 2017-18.

A spokeswoman said each complaint received by the commissioner’s office was “assessed and resolved in the most appropriate manner”.

SCDHB chief executive Nigel Trainor expressed his thanks to the Elloughton Gardens residents and their families who had been contributing to the work of the temporary manager and giving “critical” feedback.

He said it was “important” for consumers to speak up about the health system when they came across something that did not “feel right”.

“In this case it has empowered us to investigate further.”

Mr Cree said Elloughton staff were working in “close contact” with the health board and its appointee.

“We are grateful for their assistance in enacting plans to address nursing issues and the training of staff members.”

“We apologise to any resident whose care did not meet this standard, and we apologise for breaching the high standards of care that we set for ourselves.”
– Brien Cree

The temporary manager is expected to be in place for three months.

“We are grateful for their assistance in enacting plans to address nursing issues and the training of staff members.”

The temporary manager is expected to be in place for three months.

In December, Elloughton and the temporary manager implemented a new nursing leadership training programme, Mr Cree said.

“It helps our nurses learn the skills needed to better support team members and provide better care for our residents.”

The facility had also “intensified” existing programmes around communications, cultural issues, and observation and reporting.

“We are confident that our new programmes will ensure our staff members get back on track.”

Elloughton staff were “acting quickly” to ensure every resident in the facility “felt safe, welcome, respected and cared for”.

“We apologise to any resident whose care did not meet this standard, and we apologise for breaching the high standards of care that we set for ourselves.”

Admissions to Radius Elloughton Gardens have temporarily stopped.