Page Section: Centre Content Column

Older People

Treating older people respectfully

DHB  ~ Public hospital ~ Rights 1, 2, 3, 4 ~ Respect ~ Dignity ~ Freedom from harassment ~ Independence ~ Appropriate standards 

An 82-year-old man and his family met with an advocate to discuss his recent hospital experience. Although he had had many admissions to hospital and previously found hospital staff friendly, helpful and respectful, his most recent admission was quite the opposite.

He told the advocate that when it was time for his discharge he was hurried along by two staff wanting to make the bed. They argued with him, refused to listen and tried to push him out of the bed.  He almost fell during this incident, but managed to support himself on his walking frame. When he asked to speak to the manager they gave him a wheelchair and disappeared.  He said he did not understand what he had done to these staff members to be treated this way. He wanted them to know how distressing it was and that it is not acceptable to treat anyone that way. He made the complaint because he did not want this to happen to anyone else. 

The advocate assisted a family member who was present to write a letter of complaint stating the consumer's issues and desired outcome.

The consumer received a written apology from the hospital and staff for the distress caused. The response acknowledged that the two staff members had acted in an unacceptable manner failing to meet required standards. As a result of their behaviour disciplinary action had been taken and a written warning placed in their personnel files.

The consumer and his family were happy with this response and pleased to have had advocacy support through the process. The man felt reassured that he had been listened to by the hospital and that the staff had realised their mistake. He is not worried about going back to the hospital and is confident that elderly people will be looked after properly in future.


Page Section: Right Content Column