The Health and Disability Commissioner has found a Trust in breach of the Code for failing to adequately supervise, train and support one of its home-based caregivers, and for failing to take appropriate action when it became aware of a personal relationship that had developed between the caregiver and client.

The Commissioner's investigation was precipitated by a complaint from the client's sister after his death. However, the Commissioner found that there was no evidence that the caregiver failed to provide adequate disability services to the client or that she exploited or coerced him. Further, while noting that in many cases it would be ethically inappropriate for such a relationship to exist, the Commissioner accepted that the caregiver had received no training about boundary issues, was not aware that her relationship was potentially unethical, and had advised staff at the Trust and other health providers about the relationship. The Trust was found in breach of the Code for failing to adequately supervise and train the caregiver, and for failing to take appropriate steps once it was aware of the personal relationship that had developed. For example, the Commissioner found that the Trust should have acted more proactively to ensure that the client was receiving safe and adequate care. The Commissioner also found that the caregiver's employment conditions had the potential to compromise both the caregiver's wellbeing and the client's safety, and that it should have provided more support and assistance to the caregiver. 11HDC01045