IHC has prohibited the use of baths in our residential services.
All residential homes and facilities are now required to substitute baths with showers and other assisted showering options.
We are also disallowing the use of any spa pools or pools in residential homes and other facilities owned or leased by IDEA Services.
All baths are having their tap handles removed.
We want to acknowledge that this is tough. We know that some people like baths and to not be able to have them is disappointing and frustrating.
There have been significant investigations and due diligence into the risk of using baths in services and a recent court ruling stated that our duty to minimise the risk of baths was greater than people’s right to choose to have one.
Bathing is considered a high-risk activity and we’re required to take reasonable steps to eliminate or minimise this risk. Presently we are not funded at a high enough level to provide the appropriate resources to give assurances required that we deliver safe bathing in our services.
We have asked the Ministry of Health repeatedly for guidance on safe bathing and are yet to receive it.
Work to clarify the exemption process has occurred, for those people where this decision is extremely difficult to manage. The exemption criteria will however be very tight with a high threshold and we ultimately will work towards alternatives for people.
Again, please understand this decision has not been taken lightly and we will work with the people we support, staff and families to understand the concerns people are facing. We will also continue to work hard to ensure choice is upheld as much as possible while being balanced alongside the need for safe services.
Finally – please respect our staff. This decision was made by me as Chief Executive and endorsed by the IDEA Services Board. Local staff did not make this decision, they are however, required to make sure that all people are supported in personal care and that baths are not being used.
IHC Group Chief Executive