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Temporary relocation of Reefton’s Ziman House residents

Friday 25 February 2022Health news3 minutes to read

There has been a decision to relocate the 10 residents who live at the Ziman House rest home within Reefton Hospital that provides hospital and rest home level care.

West Coast DHB General Manager Phil Wheble said Omicron is not currently directly impacting the Reefton Aged Care facility at this time, however it is increasingly spreading across the Coast and as a result, staff sickness was expected to increase.  

“Given concerns around current staffing challenges, including appropriate skilled management to support staff, and the need to ensure we continue to provide the right care for our residents, it is essential that we address the concerns around staffing now. This has led us to the decision that clinically we need to move the 10 Ziman House residents in a planned careful way.”

The West Coast DHB’s Complex Clinical Care Network would be carrying out an assessment of each resident to ensure they were temporarily relocated to a facility that could meet their needs.

“Due to the rapidly increasing number of cases on the Coast we are moving with urgency to assess each resident as soon as possible and connect with residents’ families or next of kin to decide on a suitable alternative rest home for each resident.

Phil Wheble said the DHB took its responsibilities seriously and would do everything it could to ensure the safety of residents and patients in all its facilities.

“One of our main concerns is that during the outbreak we will not be able to sustain safe staffing levels, and this is a major risk that could have a serious adverse impact on our residents.  With a vacancy in the Clinical Nurse Manager role in Reefton there is a risk that the right support for the team and residents would not be able to be provided during this time.

“We appreciate that relocating older people is disruptive and may be upsetting, however we need to ensure that they are living in a rest home that is well set up with sufficient staff resources to ensure they will be well looked after during the pandemic.”

Phil Wheble said the decision was not taken lightly and had been the subject of a special board meeting held last night.

Board Chair Rick Barker said the Board had carefully considered the clinical advice that the move was necessary for patient safety and reluctantly received that advice. 

“We have to accept that the emerging pandemic will drive changes that will affect each of us.  This temporary relocation of a loved family member is not wished for and will have its challenges.  The cooperation and assistance of family members will be welcomed and appreciated. We will take care and be sensitive to the needs and concerns of patients and family to ensure a smooth transition.” 

Phil Wheble added that this move will be only for four months, “as we move through Omicron and provides us an opportunity to invest in our staff, ensure we have the right clinical leadership in place and look at improving the facilities.  This will also ensure that the other services in Reefton can be provided in a sustainable way while Omicron develops on the Coast.  There are no plans to cut services. 

“We have clear plans to reopen Ziman House in June.”


Philip Wheble

General Manager

West Coast District Health Board


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Page last updated: 25 February 2022

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