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Sunday 22 October 2017

Man alleged to have singled out two patients for vicious attacks

Dearbhail McDonald and Eilish O'Regan

THE allegations of vicious abuse against some residents at Rostrevor House nursing home centre on one care assistant.

Identified in court documents as 'P', the man worked at the home in Rathgar in Dublin from 2008 until recently when he was dismissed.

Among five residents who were abused, he is alleged to have targeted one elderly female resident and a man -- who died earlier this year of causes unrelated to the abuse.

His colleagues alleged he viciously abused a number of the 23 residents in the imposing Georgian home.

It is alleged that the care assistant kicked the now deceased man while he was on the ground.

On other occasions colleagues heard an elderly woman cry out when he accompanied her to the bathroom.

Frightened staff, who feared they would lose their jobs, turned whistleblower when inspectors visited the home late last month.

No action had been taken in the past against the male care assistant despite the staff complaints and they feared their jobs were in jeopardy.

The allegations were detailed in an affidavit submitted by the inspectors through the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in Dublin District Court last Friday when an interim order to close down the home was sought.

The affidavit disclosed how they feared they would lose their jobs and have their working visas revoked if they reported concerns about serious abuse of vulnerable residents.

Three staff even refused to be interviewed by inspectors from HIQA at the home.

The watchdog, which has responsibility for monitoring the care of residents in nursing homes, told the court it was concerned for the health, welfare and "even the life" of the residents, all of whom are "cognitively impaired to some degree".

A harrowing file of alleged abuse was given to gardai on foot of the allegations by staff at the end of last month. The file reveals serious allegations of abuse towards five residents by the male care assistant identified as P.

In one case P is reported to have banged a resident's head against a door jamb.

He is also alleged to have instructed other staff to tell the man's son that he had fallen and hit his head as a means of explaining bruising and blood on the man's head.

The incident was reported to the home, but no action appears to have been taken, said HIQA CEO Dr Tracey Cooper.

P is also alleged to have insisted on taking a female resident to the bathroom on his own.

But staff reported hearing screaming from the bathroom when he escorted the female resident there.

Separately, P is reported to have slapped another male resident while putting him to bed and abused another male resident, although details of that alleged abuse are not known.

Injuries

During the inspections on May 25 and 26, HIQA inspectors also discovered a disturbing incidence of falls, injuries and other incidents amongst an eight-strong sample of residents.

The watchdog found 24 recorded incidents of falls in seven of the eight residents which occurred in 2010 and 2011.

It emerged yesterday that HIQA has been informed that Therese Lipsett, who ran the home, had been struck off the register by An Bord Altranais in December for failing to take action against an abusive male member of staff in 2005.

HIQA put pressure on Ms Lipsett to step down from her job.

The home is operated by a company called Kitelm Ltd, which has two directors, her daughters Avilla, a former model, and Sarah, a solicitor.

There were ongoing contacts with the home in recent months, but the extent of the alleged neglect of the residents only became apparent a month ago.

Irish Independent

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