Tuesday 6 December 2016

Care nurse caught on camera 'sitting on resident' tells court it was 'a bit of fun'

Published 07/01/2016 | 13:33

Pictured clockwise: Christina Delaney (35) Seefinn, Lissatava, Hollymount, Co Mayo; Kathleen King (56) Knockshanvally Straide, Foxford in Co Mayo; Pat McLoughlin (56) Lalibela, Mayfield, Claremorris, Co Mayo; Anna Ywunong Botsimbo (34) Low Park Avenue, Charlestown Co Mayo and Joan Walsh (42) Carrowilkeen, Curry Co Sligo
Pictured clockwise: Christina Delaney (35) Seefinn, Lissatava, Hollymount, Co Mayo; Kathleen King (56) Knockshanvally Straide, Foxford in Co Mayo; Pat McLoughlin (56) Lalibela, Mayfield, Claremorris, Co Mayo; Anna Ywunong Botsimbo (34) Low Park Avenue, Charlestown Co Mayo and Joan Walsh (42) Carrowilkeen, Curry Co Sligo

A Clinical Nurse Manager caught on camera sitting on a severely autistic resident claimed it was "playful interaction" and "a bit of fun".

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Patrick McLoughlin, a Clinical Nurse Manager in Bungalow 3 and Bungalow 4 told the court the severely disabled resident had struck him twice on the back just prior to the incident. However, this was not caught on camera.

Mr McLoughlin, who has pleaded not guilty to one Section Two assault charge, said he then rushed towards the resident's seat in an attempt to diffuse the situation.

He said that on the spur of the moment he ended up sitting on the resident.

"I thought I'd get to the chair before she did, but she actually did. I sat down partially on her and partially on the chair.

"I was just having a bit of playful interaction," he added.

When released the resident followed Mr McLoughlin and attempted to strike him. At this stage another voice can be heard on the video footage requesting the resident to "say sorry" and "give Pat a hug".

Mr McLoughlin said the situation was then diffused and he left so as not to antagonise her.

The father-of-three said he had known the resident for 10 years or more adding that she had challenging behaviour and could be aggressive. He said this was all down to her medical condition.

"I like these ladies and we support them as much as we can," he said.

Earlier Martin Maguire, a clinical nurse specialist attached to Aras Attracta told the court Mr McLauglin's actions were "unacceptable".

He said he had worked on a functional assessment report for the resident which he believed was working well. However, he said he and Mr McLoughlin had had disagreements on how to implement his plans.

Mr McLoughlin, who is English, moved to Ireland in 1971. He accepted Mr Maguire's assertion that his actions were unacceptable.

"I find what I did wasn't acceptable. It was a spur of the moment thing. A bit of fun. We were having a bit of playfulness," he added.

The court was told the patient was severely autistic, with a severe intellectual disability, was non-verbal and exhibited challenging behaviour through no fault of her own.

Mr Maguire told the court that prior to the clip he had considered Mr McLaughlin a "competent" nurse.

Meanwhile, another member of staff at Aras Attracta who is charged with assault of a resident, worked for over two years as a care worker in the unit without the proper qualifications.

Christina Delaney, who is charged with one count of assault against Ms A, originally worked in the canteen from 2003 to 2006.

The court heard that Ms Delaney was appointed a health case assistant in 2006, however, she did not obtain the relevant qualifications until around 2009.

Footage was shown of Ms Delaney forcing a non-verbal resident back into her chair before sitting on her. Ms Delaney then put her legs up against the wall, effectively holding Ms A in the chair.

The incident occurred at November 15, 2014.

Ms Delaney told the court she asked Ms A's consent before sitting in the chair. She said she was attempting to keep the resident safe at the time.

She insisted she did not intend to assault Ms A and denied she was reckless on the day in question.

"I was trying to keep her in a safe zone and to keep her safe," she said.

When asked if she still felt it was the right thing to do she replied: "No".

The court heard that Ms A had caused injury to herself on a number of occasions and an Invasive Supervision plan had been put in place to stop her harming herself.

Martin Maguire, a clinical nurse specialist attached to Aras Attracta said this plan did not explain the actions of Ms Delaney which were not acceptable.

Judge Devins said she would consider the evidence and would give a date for decision tomorrow.

Another care worker caught on camera pulling a resident by the back of her hoodie told gardai she had done what she was shown to do by other staff members.

Anna Ywunong Botsimbo was shown footage of her alleged assault on Ms A.

She acknowledged to gardai that she pulled the resident by the hoodie: "I done as I was shown to do."

When asked if she found that acceptable she replied: "Of course it's not but that is how I was shown to do it."

She added that it was "staff in Bungalow 3" who had shown her this practice.

Evidence was also heard that Ms Botsimbo did not have proper training to care for the needs of residents in Bungalow 3.

Ms Botsimbo was employed through the TTM agency but did not have CPI and Mapa training.

While the training was not mandatory concerns that staff in Bungalow 3 did not have this training were previously raised by Mr Maguire in an email.

Harry Kenny, acting programme director at Aras Attracta said it was up to the agency and not the HSE to ensure staff training.

In a third clip Ms Botsimbo can be seen pulling Ms A by the hoodie back towards her chair.

Mr Maguire said he could see no reason why Ms A had been grabbed in such a manner.

When it was put to him that Ms Botsimbo was keeping Ms A out of harms way he replied: "In the clips I've viewed so far I didn't see any imminent danger to Ms A," he added.

The court heard that Ms A has since been moved to a residence where she lives alone and has two staff with her on a 24/7 basis.

Mr Maguire told the court that he believed Miss A had improved adding: "I have no record that Ms A has engaged in any self injurous behaviour in her new residence".

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