Inside Rosewood: The rest home with over half of NZ’s Covid-19 deaths

New Zealand’s Covid-19 mortality fee is the envy of the world. However it could be significantly better if it wasn’t for one Christchurch relaxation house. MARTIN VAN BEYNEN reviews. 

Fridays determine strongly within the grim numbers coming from the Rosewood Relaxation Residence and Hospitals in Christchurch. The primary confirmed case of Covid-19 got here on Friday, April 3. The primary demise was on Good Friday, April 10. The 10th demise was on Friday, April 24.

Residents of the pink brick relaxation house, which prides itself on its backyard, barbecues on the deck and frequent outings, account for over half of New Zealand’s Covid-19 fatalities.

It is a heavy duty for the 64-bed relaxation house and hospital to bear. The house was divided into three sections – one for relaxation house residents, one for individuals requiring hospital care, and one for dementia sufferers who additionally wanted hospital-level care.

A while in March, in a approach which will by no means be identified, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 received into the Rosewood neighborhood and by April 3, Rosewood had its first confirmed case.

The deaths related to Rosewood imply the Canterbury space has the very best Covid-19 mortality fee in New Zealand by far. As at Might 1, the Canterbury District Well being Board (CDHB) had 162 circumstances with 10 deaths, whereas Auckland, 173 circumstances, and Counties Manukau,127 circumstances, had no deaths. On the identical date the Rosewood cluster stood at 54 circumstances (18 recovered).

Rest home patients account for a high proportion of the deaths from Covid-19.

Relaxation house sufferers account for a excessive proportion of the deaths from Covid-19.

The depend of 10 deceased related to Rosewood is prone to enhance. A nurse who labored with the 20 Rosewood sufferers in Burwood Hospital’s Ward GG, instructed a Stuff journalist no-one was prone to come out of the ward alive.

Given the vulnerability of the Rosewood aged, it is not shocking many succumbed as soon as the virus received in. However why Rosewood? Was it simply extremely unfortunate?

One of many first Rosewood-connected deaths was former boxing coach Bernard William Pope, 78, who died in Burwood Hospital on Good Friday. His well being was poor and he had virtually died earlier than Christmas.

Bernard’s older brother Fred visited about twice per week, bringing him a chocolate fish and giving him a shave.

The final go to was “simply regular”, says Fred, who has no considerations about his brother’s care. As he left he requested his brother if he was all proper.

Rosewood resident and former West Coast farmer Alex Fairmaid died last year. His family were impressed with his care.


Rosewood resident and former West Coast farmer Alex Fairmaid died final 12 months. His household had been impressed together with his care.

“He would look proper by way of you and he simply wandered off across the nook. I simply thought, ‘Oh properly, he is going away to his mattress now or wherever he was going to go’ and I went away and left him. That is simply all it was. I used to be unhappy I by no means [saw] him once more.”

A well being skilled who is aware of a few of the staff at Rosewood properly and who spoke on the situation of anonymity says the questions are hurtful for many who did their absolute best for the residents.

“These women and men had been liked – by a spouse, a husband, a daughter or a son. And so they had been cared for of their relaxation house by a tremendous group of nurses and caregivers, a few of who additionally grew to become sick with Covid-19. Finger-pointing and tongue-wagging concerning the high quality of those residents’ care has been premature and merciless.

“A number of of those relaxation house employees had been admitted to hospital. They’ve been separated from their households for days and weeks, sick and frightened and preventing for each breath. They’ve additionally been extremely saddened, burdened with the grief of shedding so lots of the residents they felt chargeable for, and got here to know and take care of. We can not think about the depth of ache they’re feeling.”

An offended employee on the relaxation house instructed Stuff she was disgusted with the media protection suggesting employees had been at fault.

“We had been in lockdown two weeks earlier than anybody else. We screened individuals. We’re listening to plenty of lies.”

Rosewood Rest Home residents on their way to Burwood Hospital in Christchurch.


Rosewood Relaxation Residence residents on their method to Burwood Hospital in Christchurch.


Rosewood acquired the information it was dreading on Friday, April 3, 10 days after New Zealand went into Alert Stage four lockdown. Assessments confirmed no less than one of many residents in its most weak group, the dementia sufferers, had Covid-19.

The affected person must be remoted as would different sufferers, employees and guests who had been in touch with the wing.

Two days after the primary constructive assessments, the Ministry of Well being introduced 10 Covid-19 circumstances had been related to the remainder house and by Monday, April 6, all 20 sufferers within the dementia wing had been moved to Burwood Hospital the place a ward had been ready for them.

By then the Rosewood cluster had shot as much as 15 confirmed or possible circumstances – 12 residents possible or confirmed and three Rosewood employees members possible.

With most of Rosewood’s employees in self isolation, the CDHB basically needed to take over working the ability to take care of the remaining residents. An appearing supervisor was appointed.

Rosewood resident Bernard Pope died on April 10 after contracting Covid-19.


Rosewood resident Bernard Pope died on April 10 after contracting Covid-19.

Every week after the primary constructive check at Rosewood, a girl from the house in her 90s, died at Burwood Hospital. She was New Zealand’s second Covid-19 fatality.

By then three CDHB employees who helped switch the 20 residents to Burwood had contracted Covid-19.

An inquiry into how the CDHB employees grew to become sick with Covid-19 discovered the employees – busy with shifting the Rosewood residents into Burwood – had not modified their PPE continuously sufficient.

“It’s believed damp masks stands out as the supply of the breach. Some employees reported their PPE had turn out to be moist with the bodily exertion that occurred over some hours that day,” mentioned the CDHB incident controller, Dr Sue Nightingale. 

On April 11, the CDHB moved 20 Rosewood sufferers who had been within the hospital wing on the house to different amenities round Christchurch. They’d all examined unfavorable.

By April 24, 9 of the 20 Rosewood residents shifted to Burwood had succumbed and one other Rosewood resident had died elsewhere. By then, the cluster of confirmed or possible Covid-19 circumstances related with the house had grown to 50, together with 20 Rosewood employees and 6 CDHB employees.

CDHB incident controller Dan Coward says not one of the remedy plans for the Rosewood residents included escalation to ICU.

“Attributable to present comorbidities​ (different well being issues) using ventilators wouldn’t have altered the end result for these sufferers.”

The households of these dying in Burwood Hospital expressed gratitude for the care of their family members, by way of the CDHB media group. The feedback included glowing references resembling:

“It was so particular that the employees caring for her might take photographs and a video of mum in our sacred korowai. We’ll treasure it eternally.”

“Many due to all of the employees who cared for my dad to the top. I’ll at all times maintain an enormous half in my coronary heart for you. So sort of you to play dad’s video. I’m certain it helped him go. I hope to at some point have the ability to thanks each in particular person. Bless you each.”


It is essential to seek out out who or what introduced the virus into the remainder house however the reply will likely be tough.

The remaining house was a busy place with a world employees who spoke 15 languages. The power inspired household visits and residents had been taken on journeys most Tuesdays and Thursdays. A hairdresser visited weekly and a podiatrist each six weeks. 

Many of the residents had their very own rooms however their ensuites catered for 2 rooms.

Even with probably the most stringent procedures, a high-needs dementia facility is a tough place to maintain an infection below management. One nurse who works within the space instructed Stuff it was nearly inconceivable to alter into recent PPE for every resident.

With inquiries underway, well being authorities have been reluctant to supply a lot info on potential causes.

Director Normal of Well being Ashley Bloomfield talked about clusters displaying “deficiencies within the precise procedures and the way these had been being carried out”.

The Ministry of Well being was unable or disinclined to elaborate on whether or not Bloomfield was speaking about Rosewood or what precisely the deficiencies had been.

CDHB chief government David Meates​ says it was extremely seemingly a employees member took the virus into the dementia unit, given strict visiting restrictions below the extent four nationwide lockdown.

Neither the Ministry of Well being nor the CDHB supplied any extra element about how the virus an infection began at Rosewood.

Many of the patients had other health problems.


Most of the sufferers had different well being issues.

CDHB medical officer of well being Dr Cheryl Brunton says “how and when Covid-19 was launched into Rosewood relaxation house continues to be the topic of investigation, together with the likelihood that the an infection was launched by a employees member who could have been asymptomatic on the time”.

Wider points could have been at play within the introduction and fast unfold of the sickness. Unions representing caregivers and nurses have for years advocated for increased relaxation house staffing ranges, saying care rationing compromised security.

Yearly audits of the Rosewood relaxation house, which checked out an infection management amongst different points of care, raised few pink flags.

An audit final 12 months discovered solely three areas requiring enchancment. These associated to consent and enduring energy of legal professional/welfare guardian documentation, residents’ information, and chemical dealing with and training.

An an infection prevention and management programme was led by a newly educated an infection management co-ordinator with help from the ability supervisor who had expertise within the area, the audit report mentioned.

“Workers demonstrated good ideas and apply round an infection management, which is guided by related insurance policies and procedures. Common training on an infection prevention and management is accessible for workers.”

Rosewood Rest Home and Hospitals had a wing devoted to high-needs dementia residents.


Rosewood Relaxation Residence and Hospitals had a wing dedicated to high-needs dementia residents.


After a calamity such because the Covid-19 outbreak at Rosewood, offended households  generally contact media to specific considerations and level out shortcomings. This hasn’t occurred, actually the reverse.

Beverley Humphries’ husband, Dave, 82, a retired bus driver, has been in hospital care at Rosewood for 2 years and Beverley says his care has been excellent.

“The employees are improbable and deal with all of the sufferers as one large household. Dave looks like it’s house now.”

Beverley was a prepare dinner in a relaxation house for 10 years and has a very good deal with on the distinction between common and excellent care.

“Rosewood has taken the brunt of the backlash and I simply suppose it is unjust. I do know the employees go to work to take care of the residents as in the event that they had been their very own family members,” she says.

Shane Fairmaid’s aged father, Alex, a retired West Coast farmer, was a dementia affected person and a resident at Rosewood for six years.

“Dementia is a horrible illness that takes family members slowly. Sufferers are confused and tough to take care of and it takes a really particular particular person to work in these environments. No-one that goes into Rosewood recovers.

“Dad died final 12 months … Rosewood employees had been a few of the most compassionate and dedicated well being professionals I’ve ever encountered. Dad wasn’t a affected person to them, he was a part of the Rosewood household. They taken care of Dad as if he was their very own. At occasions Dad might be tough to take care of and might be unsettled and abusive. Nothing ever bothered the Rosewood employees.”

“Our household are eternally indebted to the Rosewood employees for the care of Dad. I can solely think about the grief that they are going to be feeling from this horrible influence of the virus.”

Rosewood is owned by Christchurch residents Malcolm and Lynda Tucker.


Rosewood is owned by Christchurch residents Malcolm and Lynda Tucker.

The remaining house is owned by Christchurch residents Malcolm and Lynda Tucker, who’ve declined to talk to media. Lynda is a former trainee neighborhood nurse at Burwood Hospital and the couple have owned the remainder house for about 20 years.

They’ve a variety of different enterprise pursuits together with St Johns Hill Healthcare in Whanganui which takes care of about 28 aged individuals.

Chief government of the Aged Care Affiliation Simon Wallace says the Tuckers have been longstanding and energetic members of the affiliation and are properly regarded by the aged care neighborhood.

If there are classes to be discovered from Rosewood, it is essential they’re disseminated quick. Of New Zealand’s 19 deaths, no less than 13 will be traced to relaxation houses and about 140 Covid-19 infections are in aged facility clusters. A cluster is outlined as 10 or extra circumstances related by way of transmission.

Abroad the image is analogous. UK-based teachers say about half of all Covid-19 deaths seem like occurring in care houses in Italy, Spain, France, Eire and Belgium.

Bloomfield has commissioned a evaluate of all the remainder house amenities the place circumstances of Covid-19 have emerged.

“In a few of these cases, the circumstances have been capable of be bounded in a short time with no additional transmission, and in others, we have seen simply how tough this virus is and that it might probably unfold fairly quickly. So we expect it is an excellent time limit to undertake a evaluate of each the amenities the place we’ve got had circumstances to find out about what’s labored properly and the place we might enhance, but additionally to take a look at some amenities that is perhaps comparable the place they have not had circumstances.”

Wallace defends his business, saying it put in place safeguards properly earlier than the remainder of the nation.

“Even with the very best precautions in place, it is not fail-safe.”

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