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Workers Fired for Elder Care Abuse Won’t Be Charged

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Peterborough, ONIn one of the most shocking cases ever to emerge from the elder care industry in Canada, various employees of an elder care facility in Peterborough, Ontario, were suspended and then fired for incidents of care center abuse against an elderly resident after the resident’s son obtained video from a hidden camera in his mother’s room.



Camille Parent, a Peterborough businessman, community volunteer and elder care advocate had placed his 85-year-old mother in a private room at St. Joseph’s at Fleming long-term care home in Peterborough. The care center was constructed several years ago on the grounds of Fleming College in the city’s southwest sector. Sir Sandford Fleming, the father of standard time, once resided in Peterborough.

And St. Joseph’s at Fleming was hailed as a caring and thoroughly professional facility, with buttoned-down protocols and excellent care.

But the facility suffered a bruise to its reputation after allegations of care home abuse.

The slide began with unexplained bruising appearing on the face of Hellen MacDonald, Parent’s mother and a resident of the home who suffers from dementia. After failing to obtain a reasonable explanation as to why the bruising - which included a black eye - was occurring, Parent took matters into his own hands and installed a hidden video camera in his mother’s room. He left the camera active for three weeks, before retrieving and reviewing the footage.

Parent was aghast at what he saw. So, too, is a city and the entire nation.

In cruel examples of residential care abuse, one care worker is seen handling MacDonald in extremely rough fashion in an example of Care Center Physical Abuse while changing her diaper. In another piece of footage, the same worker is seen taking a cloth covered with MacDonald’s own feces and waving it close to MacDonald’s face, as if to taunt her with it.

Other examples of nursing home abuse found on the tape: a worker making MacDonald’s bed is seen wiping his nose on her clean sheets; two employees of the facility, one male and the other female, are seen fraternizing in MacDonald’s room while MacDonald lay in her bed; a male resident wanders in through the closed door of the room and is seen going through MacDonald’s drawers, and possibly removes items, while MacDonald lay sleeping.

Incensed at this elder abuse, Parent took the video to CHEX Television in Peterborough, which aired the footage and broke the story earlier this year. Alan Cavell, the interim CEO of St. Joseph’s at Fleming, was shown the video as CHEX Newswatch cameras rolled. He appeared shocked at what he saw.

It should be noted that following his tenure as interim CEO, Cavell left the facility and a permanent CEO - the appointment of which had been planned - was brought in. The governing organization overseeing the facility, the Catholic Health Corporation of Ontario (CHCO), appointed a new Chair of the Board of Directors, and new board members were installed to augment existing members of the board who remained.

The four workers seen in the video committing residential care abuse were fired from their jobs. But that wasn’t good enough for Parent, who wanted them charged.

As reported by CTV News (9/5/13), following separate investigations by both local police and the provincial body governing nursing and elder care homes, it was determined that no charges would be laid. That’s not good enough for Parent, who is appealing to the Province of Ontario - the legislative body responsible for nursing care facilities in the Canadian province - to strengthen the law in an effort to protect seniors.

Advocates who rail against nursing home abuse are in Parent’s corner on behalf of his elderly mother and all residents in elder care centers.

“I think it was disgusting,” said Lynn MacDonald, the scientific director or the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly and no relation to Hellen MacDonald. “I think it was an obscenity what they did to that woman, and if it had been a child or a younger middle-aged person, they would have never gotten away with it.”

Advocates for elder care workers have defended caregivers as being overworked and facilities understaffed in a sector that is alleged to be underfunded (nursing and elder care homes are largely funded by the province, although there are plenty of private facilities available). Residents - especially those suffering from dementia - can be abusive at times and hard to handle.

However, even workers’ advocates note that the images of elder abuse care home negligence seen in the video should not be condoned.

It is not known if Parent is considering a care center abuse lawsuit. “I’m puzzled,” Parent told CBC News (9/6/13). “I’m sickened over this. It’s just totally wrong.”

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
My friend was abused both mentality and physically he was 39 years old and was sent to a pain clinic here in ontario. lady in charge kept asking why was he here and then told him to get out of his wheelchair and get onto a stepping machine. broke his heart then she said he was faking which is not even close and stepped on his feet to see if his injury was real. he went in there looking for help and now you mention the clinic or anything he goes off the deep end. he even wanted to take his own life after the way he was treated. Wish i could help them he doesn't have the money for a lawyer so looks like this lady gets off and he is left emotionally wrecked for life. I read his diary of what happened in that place and it left me shocked and upset knowing that people get abused elderly as well people are humans we are all equal.

Posted by

on
My mother was abused on several ocassions reported to The Village of Glendale Crossing (whom did not fire the employees involved) London Ontario also to the London Police Department (who did not charge the individuals involved)
This is so sad my mother is near 100 years old and suffers from arthritis now and is bedridden cause it is easier to leave her lie there and ignore her so to speak as she is not getting proper nourishment and has lost well over 30 plus pounds her independence her dignity she can't even answer her own phone most of the time she is left alone so much whereas before all this reporting happened she was able to move herself and was well loved by ALL I believed only to find out NOT by some Now the stigma lies that don't go near her cause you may be reported my opinion is if you do your job there is no need to worry This could have been avoided and she should not have been left in bed as she has been also What a life of golden years being stripped from you It is like being raped of all worthiness in life!

Posted by

on
What a horrifying video! Why are cameras not placed in all senior's rooms?

I suppose it wouldn't do any good anyway, would it. Look how meat companies pretend they don't know what their staff are doing to pigs, cows, and chickens.

The administrators of these companies should be fined in the millions for such things, and that also goes for animal abuse.

Absolutely disgusting.

Posted by

on
I was abused and my property was taken by a string of personal care attendants who came to my home to "help me" and they helped themselves to everything I had left of value, including my 60 year old coil collection. They came late and left early and when I tried to turn the last one in, I was accused of being mentally ill, even though they could have checked the last week she worked for me she did not even work an hour and she got paid almost $400 for that week. No one listens and everyone has their finger in the pie. The companies who hire and pay these attendants depend on their income just the same. It is a huge scam. My attendant could have done an infomercial on how to scam the elderly. I was not well but I am not mentally ill. but just try to turn one of the in. For Shame :(

Posted by

on
That filming actually made me CRY. How sad that these people treated this elderly woman with SUCH UTTER DISRESPECT. This is not a single incidence. I run a public charity and am a Naturopathic Doctor. I see such cruelty toward elders often and it is aweful. Anything from family members taking cancer patients pain meds, to utter squallor, to landlords forcing cancer patients to take upstairs apartments, to home care workers eating all the person's food! What a horrible state of affairs for the elderly. Those people who did these inappropriate things should have their licenses suspended and be forced out of the senior care work realm. Their faces and identities should be posted like Megan's List so that people EVERYWHERE should be warned about their actions. We hurt other elders by not holding workers such as that accountable and by not exposing them. I applaud the son for showing this and for being bold by even showing his mother's feces being shoved in her face. I mean, what is she supposed to do other than do her body's elimination into a diaper! She is unable to do it anywhere else. Thank you for posting this online. I hope it causes this facility to go bankrupt. They should know more about how their patients are being treated by their OWN CAMERAS. And of course his mother was thrashing about when she was being changed...she had been mistreated or maybe even starved and she deserved to be mad!Please continue to expose these kinds of things so that we can all be outraged into action!

Posted by

on
It can, and should be stopped on the Administrative levels, however administrations in care centers are career-driven, morally bankrupt, empty suits.

Posted by

on
as a nurse in the us i saw these things happen a few times. according to the law, you had to provide proof and most of these people are smart enough to do it when they are alone. it was extremely difficult to catch someone so usually you had to fire them for something else.
had we been able to get this type of proof, they would have lost there license to work and been prosecuted. there is no excuse fo it! i know that i myself and my sister, also a nurse, were always available if any aide needed help with a difficult patient!

Posted by

on
Absolutely these people should be prosecuted! No one wants to be put in a nursing home but unfortunatley it becomes necessary as we age or become disabled. This is not acceptable behavior and certainly is not what you are paying for. If you are not compassionate and patient, then you have no business working in the medical field.

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