Family of 87-year-old furious after rest home allegedly didn’t report missing resident to police

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Nov 08, 2022 |

Story updated at 7.57AM Wednesday with response from resthome

The family of an elderly woman is furious after staff at a Christchurch rest home allegedly did not contact police when they discovered the 87-year-old missing.

The incident happened on Sunday night at Brookhaven Retirement Village on Alport Place, Woolston, which is part of the Golden Healthcare Group, whose parent company is the Australian-owned Heritage Lifecare group.

A family member said their relative went missing from the village sometime after 9pm.

“Police found her three hours later in Redliffs, four kilometres from the facility. She has early Alzheimers and is in the normal area of the rest home, not the dementia care area.”

The family member said the relative has been living at the facility for three years and “has regular falls.”

They claim the rest home did not call the police and report her missing and only informed the next of kin at 10AM Monday.

The family member said they were told by a staff member that their policy was to inform family members of any incident “the next day.”

“This needs to be addressed and made public about how much of a misconduct this was,” the family member said.

On Tuesday, a rest home staff member told the family their relative had a UTI (urinary tract infection) which can cause an older person to become confused.

Heritage Lifecare Group CEO Norah Barlow said “while I do accept and apologise to the family, for not advising them earlier of the fact that their family member went out on her own at night, I certainly refute that there is any concept of negligence in this situation.”

She said “when a person is in a rest home living independently, they are not, and should not, be seen to be in any type of locked down home.  Rest home residents’ activities are not controlled and they are able to go for walks, to the shops and out with families whenever they desire.”

Barlow said “in this case it is certainly regrettable that the time she chose for this walk was in between two night time checks of residents, and that by the time she was seen to be missing, she was actually returned by the police.

Where our process fell down is that we did not immediately advise the family, or if not immediately, at least first thing in the morning. I personally apologise this.   We have reminded staff of the importance of this and will ensure that family notifications are done earlier should any event like this re occur.”

A police spokesman confirmed to Chris Lynch Media that police were notified by a member of the public, who spotted the elderly woman walking alone at 12.14 AM on Monday.

“It appears the women was picked up soon after by a patrol car” the police spokesman said.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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