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Carer called elderly dying patient a 'big fat c**t' and threw water over another

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show multiple instances of abuse and oversight.

Image: Shutterstock

A CARER SUBJECTED a number of elderly care patients to extreme abuse – calling one a “big, fat c**t” and throwing water over another, according to recently released documents.

In a complaint to the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), a former worker in an unidentified care home said that a fellow worker had abused some residents.

In the first incident, the complainant said that they had witnessed an elderly patient who was on their deathbed being abused by the member of staff.

The resident had to be turned because they had pressure sores and the staff member said “roll over there you big fat c**t”. This was reported to a senior staff member but no action was taken.

A week later, the complainant said that they saw the same staff member throw water over en elderly resident suffering from dementia to stop them talking. They reported the incident to a more senior carer but again no substantive action was taken.

The complainant said that they had no choice but to resign following the lack of action from senior staff.

Complaints

The details of the complaint are contained in documents released by Hiqa under freedom of information legislation to Louth TD Fergus O’Dowd.

O’Dowd has been an active campaigner for improving standards in care homes for the past number of years.

90405633 Fergus O'Dowd Source: RollingNews.ie

The documents detail complaints received by Hiqa from the areas of childcare services, elderly care services and disability services between 1 June and 31 October 2015.

The individual cases are either partially or fully redacted in most instances in order to fully protect the identities of those involved as well as the locations of the events.

The documents contain over 200 individual complaints made about services, care homes, staff and management among others.

Complaints of alleged abuse from staff or other patients, inadequate services or monitoring and improper oversight list highly among concerns raised.

Some of the more notable complaints include:

  • A day service user with Downs’ Syndrome being sexually assaulted by another service user.
  • Inattentive staff who allowed a disabled service user to be abused by other patients without stopping it.
  • An elderly resident who was left soiled overnight without being changed until the next morning.
  • Understaffing at night. With one case where there was one nurse and two care assistants for 63 residents.
  • Elderly care residents receiving cold showers and baths before bed.

Investigation

In a statement, Hiqa said that it did not have a remit to investigate individual complaints received by it.

Under the Health Act 2007, however, Hiqa said that it can inspect and evaluate services against national standards. Where appropriate, it can use its statutory powers which can include enforcement and prosecution.

The authority said that any complaints which potentially indicated a risk to the quality and safety of the services it regulated provided it with valuable information to its regulatory activities.

The authority said that did not comment on individual cases but that in 2015 were 56 single issue and triggered inspections of designated centres for elderly people.

It also said that wherever a crime had been committed, the information would be passed onto the gardaí.

Read: Louth care centre used disabled man’s money to buy cutlery, furnishings and fireplace

Read: HIQA finds overcrowding, poor hygiene and risk of infection at Holles Street

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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