Family tells of torment over father's abuse in nursing home
Published 14/04/2010 | 05:00
THE family of a wheelchair-bound stroke victim has revealed its torment over abuse he suffered in a nursing home which is being shut down by health authorities.
Relatives of Tony Carass (70) revealed how Glenbervie Nursing Home in Bray, Co Wicklow, failed to inform them or a doctor after he was attacked by another resident, suffering head injuries.
The family are the first to speak out about the standard of care at the home, which is being closed by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).
The nursing home's owners have confirmed to the Irish Independent they will not be challenging court proceedings issued by HIQA and plan to put the property on the market.
According to relatives, Mr Carass, a retired engineer and father-of-six from Dublin, felt like taking his own life after a number of incidents at the home. "My father said he felt like committing suicide, so we took him out of there," said his son Paul.
"He was afraid of his life in the place in the end."
One of these incidents was investigated by the HSE, which found that Mr Carass suffered bruising on his left cheek after being attacked by another resident in July 2008.
The investigation report, a copy of which has been seen by the Irish Independent, revealed relatives only learned of the incident a week after it happened when they went to visit him at the home.
They complained about the condition Mr Carass was in, the fact that they had not been contacted about the incident, and that a GP had not been called to review their father.
When a medical examination eventually took place, the doctor deemed the injury serious enough to require an X-ray.
"He was defenceless in a wheelchair and boxed around the head," said Paul Carass.
The HSE investigation report criticised the nursing home for not taking appropriate action after the attack.
The attacker was later moved to another care facility.
Mr Carass is also now resident in another nursing home.
Glenbervie's owner, Noel Gillooly (60), did not dispute the findings of the HSE investigation when contacted by the Irish Independent.
However, he said he felt "hard done by" following HIQA's intervention.
"I've been in this business for 18 years and have put a lot of effort into the place. There will always be incidents in a nursing home with 30 or so people," he said.
HIQA got an interim district court order to deregister the nursing home last month amid concerns for the health and safety of its 27 residents. The HSE subsequently took over the running of the home and has been relocating patients to other facilities.
HIQA has yet to disclose the exact reasons it moved to deregister the home.
The matter is due back in court on April 22. Mr Gillooly will not be seeking to have the order overturned.
"I won't be contesting or appealing it. There is no point. They have moved most of the patients out," he said.
"Going up against a state body, you are wasting your time. At my age, I'm just going to call it a day."
Mr Gillooly added that the property would be sold. He said the nursing home came to the attention of HIQA recently when a female resident, who had been there for five years, "slipped off the toilet and fractured her hip".
He said the woman was now recovering and that her family had been happy with her care.
When asked if any other issues had been raised by health authorities, he said most related to procedures rather than the standard of care.
"There seems to be a lot of policies and procedures, an awful lot of paperwork," he said.
Mr Gillooly added that the relatives of many residents had expressed disappointment the home was being closed.