Monday 26 September 2016

Nursing home wants to place restrictions on son visiting his mother, court hears

Aodhan O Faolain

Published 23/03/2016 | 13:20

The High Court
The High Court

A nursing home wants to place certain restrictions on visit by a son to his elderly mother who is a resident at the facility, the High Court has heard.

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The nursing home claimed the conditions, limiting the amount of time and days the son can visit his mother, have been imposed due to complaints about the man. 

It alleged he administered food and fluid to his mother without using a thickener which, it was feared, could result in her choking.  There have also been complaints about him from families of other residents at the home, it is claimed.

On Wednesday at a vacation sitting of the Court Mr Justice Michael Twomey was also informed by lawyers for the nursing home that on one occasions the gardaí had to be called to escort the son off the nursing home premises after he entered the facility without permission.

The nursing home says it is taking the matter very seriously and has brought proceedings due to its concerns about the mother's health and safety.

The woman's son who denies any allegations of wrongdoing told the court he fears the nursing home's actions will be detrimental to his mother, whom he said he has visited on a daily basis.

The woman, who has been in a nursing home since February, is a ward of court and cannot be identified for legal reasons. 

On Wednesday nursing home's lawyers told Mr Justice Twomey it had been agreed the man's access to his mother would be limited to two hours per day in the afternoons between Monday and Friday.  The visits are also to be supervised by senior nursing staff at the facility.

The woman's son told the court that while he was prepared to accept the conditions, he was unhappy he was not allowed visit his mother during the weekends. 

He said his mother was in a ward at the home for patients with dementia.  While he accepted his mother had memory issues he said she is quite lucid.

He said that during the day his mother was in a common room with others with dementia where he said there was "a constant babble."  This he said was not good for his mother's health.

He felt she should be in another common room in the facility where the patients are old and frail rather than with those with dementia.  He said that his mother was just left alone in a corner of the room by staff where she got no interaction or no stimulus when there.

His mother he said needed to have a proper conversation on a daily basis. When he arrives at the facility he said the first thing she always said was "thank god you are here."  If he was not able to visit her on a daily basis he said he feared for his mother's mental health and well-being.

He also denied he had done anything improper with any other patients at the facility.

In reply lawyers for the nursing home rejected any suggestion it was attempting to damage the mother and son's bond. The home said senior nursing staff, who will supervise the visits, do not work at weekends and holidays so it would not be possible for him to be allowed visit on those particular days.

The situation would be subject to a review, the court also heard.    

Mr Justice Twomey adjourned the matter to the new legal term in April, to allow the woman's son file a sworn statement in reply to the nursing home's application, when the new legal term commences.

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