A man awarded $10,000 by the Disputes Tribunal over the care his mother, Freda, received at Bupa St Kilda in Cambridge has donated the entire amount to set up a fund to help others take similar action.
The Freda Love fund, set up by Consumer NZ, will help consumers with the financial support they need to meet the costs of filing a claim in the tribunal, said Consumer NZ chief executive, Sue Chetwin.
Mr Love said that he took the case to the Disputes Tribunal as a last resort, after he felt that complaints to health watchdogs had gone unheeded.
“I want the fund to show people in similar situations there is something you can do that has a meaningful outcome,” he said.
Mr Love paid an extra $52 per night for a ‘premium room’, however the tribunal found that Bupa fell short of the expected standard of care and ordered them to refund the $8,112 in premium fees, and $850 as part cost for a fan, dehumidifier and air conditioning unit Mr Love had installed in the room. He also received just over $1000 for the cost of travel incurred as he needed to take a “more active” role in his mother’s day-to-day care due to issues with the home, bringing the total to $10,000.
“Just like any other trader, rest homes are obligated under consumer law to provide services with reasonable care and skill. If they don’t, and that failure results in you being left out of pocket, then you have grounds to take the case to the tribunal,” Ms Chetwin said.
Ms Chetwin said existing complaints processes need to do a better job when consumers raise concerns about rest home care. Rest homes must also face meaningful sanctions when they fail to deliver care to required standards, she added.
Freda, a long-time Cambridge resident and active member in the community was a resident in the Cambridge home for 156 days last year, and died in hospital in February.