Elderly woman gets infection after dressing not changed

Elderly woman gets infection after dressing not changed

Originally published on Radio New Zealand

An Auckland rest home has been reprimanded for making an elderly woman wait 19 days to have a wound redressed, which led to a skin infection that could have killed her.

Summerset by the Park has been criticised in a report on the case released today.

Deputy Health and Disability commissioner Rose Wall said the woman injured her right calf and it was dressed by a Sommerset nurse.

"It seems it wasn't redressed for 19 days and when the family took this elderly woman to her GP over three weeks after the incident, she was found to have an infection and she was in considerable discomfort at the time as well, and had cellulitis."

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin that can, if left untreated, be life-threatening.

Ms Wall said the dressing was supposed to be changed after three days but did not happen.

The GP recorded the wound was infected and smelly with a yellow discharge, a wet dressing, and a surrounding bacterial skin infection.

Two days later the family removed the woman from the rest home.

Ms Wall said Summerset breached patient rights by failing to ensure proper care.

The lack of a short-term care plan by rest home staff led to confusion over who was managing the wound.

The home's management have since apologised to the woman.

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