Sunday, November 28

New Zealand consumer pushes for retirement village care claims to be investigated

The Commerce Commission has been asked to investigate retirement village-level promises of nursing home care that in many cases are not being kept.

Consumer New Zealand says older people are signing up for retirement villages in the belief that they will receive nursing home care when they need it, but often have to move because care is not provided.

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The residents of the retirement home have had to leave to get the medical care they expected within the villages in which they enrolled.
Photo: 123rf

The watchdog has asked the Commerce Commission to clamp down on advertising that creates the impression that care is guaranteed, which is not supported by village contracts.

It is also pressuring the government to reform current legislation to hold the industry to account.

Jessica Wilson, Research Director at Consumer NZ, said Morning report the body had received complaints from residents who had to move for care, incurring significant financial costs.

“The towns give the impression in their marketing and advertising that this elderly care is guaranteed,” he said.

“If you look at the village contracts, which is what we’ve done, you won’t find any such guarantees.

“You can be given priority access to a care bed over non-residents, but there is no guarantee in the contract that it will be available when needed.

“In our opinion, the village claims are misleading consumers about the services they can expect.”

Wilson urged those considering moving to a village to review the actual contract and request the village outline in writing about the care facilities it offers specifically, including anticipated wait times before receiving care.

“We have also received complaints from consumers who had moved into a village, who had been promised in the clever marketing pitch that care facilities would be added to the village at some point in the future, but that had not happened,” said. .

There were serious financial implications for residents who found that there was no nursing bed available to them when they needed it.

“You may find yourself in a situation where you need to effectively sell your right to live in your village unit and then transfer it to the facility’s hospital bed,” Wilson said.

“If you have to move out of the village, of course that means selling your unit as well and that means losing the dissuaded management fee, which you have to pay to the village upon leaving. It is a significant financial implication for residents when they need to move out. out of town. “

The consumer ombudsman said that the legislation governing nursing homes was long overdue in reforms and that this had to happen.

“We want to see safeguards in the law to protect the basic contractual rights of consumers to be treated fairly,” he said.

“Right now, what we are asking the Commission to do is clamp down on claims and publicity so residents and potential residents are not misled.”

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