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265 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 916274 16-Oct-2013 19:27
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I see rest homes in the same way as prisons(better treatment in prison). A resident is under the care of the rest home, as far as medical concerns or appointments I would have thought rest homes would be the to need to know. Not all residents of rest homes have family members that visit on a regular occasion to inform management of updated matters. It's actually quite sad that a lot of them have no visitors.
The above is only my observations..

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  # 916277 16-Oct-2013 19:31
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NonprayingMantis:
gregmcc:
NonprayingMantis:
gregmcc:
NonprayingMantis:
gregmcc:
wellygary:
Wheelbarrow01: Thanks guys,

I just found the relevant passage in the Postal Services Act 1998:

23 Unlawfully opening postal article (1) Every person commits an offence against this Act who wilfully and without reasonable excuse opens or causes to be opened any postal article that is not addressed to that person. (2) Every person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable on conviction to imprisonment for not more than 6 months or a fine of not more than $5,000.
As I am power of attorney, and my mother is fully compos mentis (can think for herself) the resthome has no mandate to open her mail. I have now sent a strongly worded letter to remind them of this.


I think the key phrase here is "without reasonable excuse"

Have you looked through the agreement signed when your mother was placed into care, you may find that it refers to accepting the "terms and operating conditions" of the rest home, - and buried in the T&C there may be a "we open mail" clause.......

Not saying its right, just that they may have covered themselves against any potential action...


Even if that clause is in the T&C's it doesn't mean they can, you can't contract out of the law.


Of course you can, in this kind if situation.
Ie. if they get a contract that states they are allowed to open mail on behalf of their residents then of course they can do it.


and what about if the contract also said that she must give up her first born to a firery death in a volcano - would that be enforcable? even through it is clearly illegal, just like opening postal mail



The two things are not remotely comparable.

Are you suggesting that every time my wife opens mail addressed to me then she is committing a crime punishable by up to 6 months in prison. even though I have given her full permission to do so?


1) the people at the rest home are not in any way related to the mother in the rest home, but you are related to your wife
2) they do not have permission, you wife does have explicit permission from you - do you intend to proscute your wife for opening your mail?
3) no person/company/govt dept is legally allowed to contract out of the law




Re 1 clearly we are discussing generally, and I am using my wife as an example. Does the law state an exception for relatives? What about if I ask my neighbour to open my mail whilst I am away, is he breaking the law?


and this is where common sense should have kicked in, of couse no judge in his or her right mind would allow a proscution to proceed against a spouse who has permission to open mail, but someone who is a non-relative who does not have permission is totally different.


Re 2 we know that now, but your claim was not whether they had permission or not, but rather that it was impossible to legally be given permission, which is the point I am disagreeing with


You are saying it is not possible to have an agreement (a contract) where I grant permission for somebody else to open my mail. That seems ludicrous.


there are reasons why people/companies/govt can't contract out of laws, otherwise people would draw up contracts allowing in the fine print for them to do whatever they to whomever they want for whatever reason with no regard for anyone else and be able to get away with it.

The laws fall in to 2 catagories, for people/companies - these are the things you are not allowed to, anything else is legal
for Govt - these are the things you are allowed to do - anything else is illegal


 
 
 
 


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  # 916327 16-Oct-2013 21:27
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gregmcc:

and what about if the contract also said that she must give up her first born to a firery death in a volcano - would that be enforcable? even through it is clearly illegal, just like opening postal mail



That's getting silly, the situations aren't remotely the same. The law clearly says opening someone else's mail without reasonable cause is an offence.

If I have power of attorney for someone, am married to them, or have merely been asked by them to collect and open their mail while they are away, then I have reasonable cause to open the mail. No offence has been committed.

Anyhow, coming back to the OP's issue:

In the case of the resthome I would just write them a letter advising them that their staff have been illegally interfering with mail, explicitly stating that they don't have permission to do this, and asking them to desist immediately or you will have to take the matter further. From my experience dealing with bureaucrats, and also to ensure that you appear a reasonable and rational person if you do actually need to take it further - keep the letter scrupulously polite, formal, and keep emotion and hyperbole out of it. Also, a proper written and signed letter (registered delivery if you really want to hammer the point that you are serious) will often work much better than an email. Proof read it the day after you write it (or have someone else proof read it) to make sure it reads well and is free of errors. Keep a copy.

Asking for a letter confirming that the unlawful interference with your mother's mail will cease forthwith might also not be a bad idea. If possible, you want their response in writing.

Remember that the purpose isn't to vent, it's to make them stop. It's also to build the audit trail showing that you have been reasonable and appropriately made them aware of the issue etc, to strengthen your hand if you later need to escalate this through the DHB etc.

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  # 916337 16-Oct-2013 22:05
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gregmcc: 

They can't do that, who owns the items? if the rest home owns the items then they pay the bill, if your mother owns them and didn't request the test and tag then she does not have to pay. BTW there is no requirment for domestic/personal use electrical items to be tested and tagged.


Pretty sure it is in the rest home contract, that they can do these types of tests, and you have to pay. I think it is time there was some regulation in the rest home industry, especially around the whole license to occupy thing.

gzt

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  # 916350 16-Oct-2013 22:44
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If there is a genuine need for staff to assist with scheduling of medical appointments there are better ways of doing it. Opening 'all' mail is clearly a method ridiculous in the extreme. More so if no one has authorised this ever. Because of the massive privacy implications I would expect any authorisation to be in a separate contract signed or actioned if needed, it is not a simple t&c.

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  # 916392 16-Oct-2013 23:51
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I work for a large DHB as a Afternoon Nursing Co-ordinator. 

Yes I personally believe they are breaking the law in opening mums mail. Even if it was in the T?C its not enforcable.
I believe Paul Brislen post is spot on. Call the Health and Disability commissioner about your concerns. They have arbitrators that can look into situations for you and arbitrate.

Pts rights- right 1 in this case for starters.     http://www.hdc.org.nz/the-act--code/the-code-of-rights/the-code-(full)

Making a complaint is relatively online.  http://www.hdc.org.nz/complaints

I look after Mental health Clients and we certainly do not open their mail.
From your 1st post it sounds like they have made it a practise without any clinical foundation. 
Be interesting to hear what there feedback is





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  # 916468 17-Oct-2013 09:23
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gzt: If there is a genuine need for staff to assist with scheduling of medical appointments there are better ways of doing it. Opening 'all' mail is clearly a method ridiculous in the extreme. More so if no one has authorised this ever. Because of the massive privacy implications I would expect any authorisation to be in a separate contract signed or actioned if needed, it is not a simple t&c.


This resthome has never assisted my mum to make or keep medical appointments, nor have they ever taken her to them - that has always fallen on my shoulders. This only hammers home the fact that they have no need to even know when her appointments are - because they don't do anything to assist with them anyway. There is also no doctor onsite, so any medical issues are handled externally by her GP. The only responsibility the resthome has at this time is to ensure that her prescriptions are controlled and dispensed correctly.

I did send the email I posted earlier in the thread, however I first removed the line in reference to IRD and the resthome's fees, as I realised that was inflammatory.
With that line removed, I believe the letter was not overly emotional, but clearly voiced my displeasure at their actions and my request for them to cease immediately.

 
 
 
 


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  # 916519 17-Oct-2013 10:42
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psychrn: I work for a large DHB as a Afternoon Nursing Co-ordinator. 

I look after Mental health Clients and we certainly do not open their mail.
From your 1st post it sounds like they have made it a practise without any clinical foundation. 
Be interesting to hear what there feedback is



Apparently in even in the Mental Health area where there is provision for opening mail in certain circumstances there are exceptions

"However, mail that you send to or receive from the following people can never be opened or withheld:

 

  • your lawyer
  • a district inspector or official visitor
  • a psychiatrist whom you’ve asked for a second opinion
  • an MP
  • a judge or officer of any court, or any member or officer of a tribunal or other judicial body
  • an ombudsman
  • the Director-General of Health or Director of Mental Health
  • the person in charge of the hospital."

Is this type of mail always clearly marked or how would they know that they shouldn't open something until they have?

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  # 916681 17-Oct-2013 17:57
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Bung:
psychrn: I work for a large DHB as a Afternoon Nursing Co-ordinator. 

I look after Mental health Clients and we certainly do not open their mail.
From your 1st post it sounds like they have made it a practise without any clinical foundation. 
Be interesting to hear what there feedback is



Apparently in even in the Mental Health area where there is provision for opening mail in certain circumstances there are exceptions

"However, mail that you send to or receive from the following people can never be opened or withheld:

 

  • your lawyer
  • a district inspector or official visitor
  • a psychiatrist whom you’ve asked for a second opinion
  • an MP
  • a judge or officer of any court, or any member or officer of a tribunal or other judicial body
  • an ombudsman
  • the Director-General of Health or Director of Mental Health
  • the person in charge of the hospital."

Is this type of mail always clearly marked or how would they know that they shouldn't open something until they have?


yes I was aware of those exceptions didn't think they were relevant in this case.

The HDC be the best place as the RH is a place providing Care and a service for "Mum"




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  # 916810 18-Oct-2013 03:05
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NonprayingMantis: So if, for example, I go overseas for a while it is illegal for my wife, even with my permission, to open mail even if I specifically request that she do it. Clearly that is not the case, (or my wife should be in prison right now) so clearly it must be legal to open someone's mail wit heir permission.


Idiot you've given permission for your wife to open your mail the law in that case ceases to be applicable as she now has reasonable excuse. The rest home must gain written/verbal permission from each resident/POA on an case by case basis,
they can not use an T&C in a contract to generalise such a practice and as the OP has already stated that there is nothing in the contract that states anything about opening residents mail they have broken the law plain and simple

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  # 916811 18-Oct-2013 03:33
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Athlonite:
NonprayingMantis: So if, for example, I go overseas for a while it is illegal for my wife, even with my permission, to open mail even if I specifically request that she do it. Clearly that is not the case, (or my wife should be in prison right now) so clearly it must be legal to open someone's mail wit heir permission.


Idiot


Bit harsh.

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  # 916812 18-Oct-2013 03:37
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No not really when it's a stupid comment written by someone who obviously didn't read the post with the bits of applicable law in it

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  # 916834 18-Oct-2013 08:17
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Athlonite:
NonprayingMantis: So if, for example, I go overseas for a while it is illegal for my wife, even with my permission, to open mail even if I specifically request that she do it. Clearly that is not the case, (or my wife should be in prison right now) so clearly it must be legal to open someone's mail wit heir permission.


Idiot

unfair, and also against the FUD to insult other members like this
you've given permission for your wife to open your mail the law in that case ceases to be applicable as she now has reasonable excuse.

that is exactly my point. the other guy was arguing that it is impossible to give permission. Clearly this is not the case.

The rest home must gain written/verbal permission from each resident/POA on an case by case basis,
they can not use an T&C in a contract to generalise such a practice and as the OP has already stated that there is nothing in the contract that states anything about opening residents mail they have broken the law plain and simple


if you have given written permission then the contract with the rest home can be exactly that.  ideally they wouldn't bury it within the small print, but it is still a contract where you give permission - that is what a contract is.

(I realise we know now that it is not in this contract, but we didn't at first, which is why it was brought up, and so I am talking about hypothetically)


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  # 916842 18-Oct-2013 08:30
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Still wondering which rest home it is :P



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  # 916851 18-Oct-2013 08:47
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Inphinity: Still wondering which rest home it is :P


I thought I would give them a chance to respond before naming them, but it's almost 48 hours later and nothing yet. Even just acknowledging the email would have been courteous. I emailed the home manager directly.

At this stage I will say it is owned and run by Bupa.

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