11 Jan 2011

Review of DHB respite service recommended

9:06 am on 11 January 2011

The death of a man whose family was unable to obtain respite (relief) care from Hutt Valley DHB, has prompted a coroner to recommend that the district health board review the service.

Wellington Coroner Ian Smith has issued his findings on the death of Jerome Perez, 40, who had depression and took his own life in March 2008.

He had moved into a flat away from his wife three weeks before his death.

His wife, Fiona, was the sole caregiver; she says they separated because she could not cope anymore.

She had been very ill from liver failure for three years from 2005.

Mrs Perez says it took her a long time to recover and her husband's depression became worse as she improved.

The couple had received on-going assistance in previous years, but were told by the Hutt Valley DHB that respite care was not available at the time it was requested.

A statement from the board says it has been reviewing the quality of its services.