Saturday 16 December 2017

Care home owners insist abuse claims 'unfounded'

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

SHOCKING allegations of abuse at the Rostrevor House nursing home in Dublin are "unfounded" and have been prompted by a dispute among staff, the owners insisted yesterday.

Sarah Lipsett, a solicitor, who took over the running of the home in Rathgar, broke her silence and claimed none of its 23 elderly residents wanted to be uprooted and moved to another facility.

She was speaking in the wake of damning allegations of inspectors who want the home closed down after complaints by staff that five elderly residents were physically and verbally abused by a male care assistant who worked there since 2008.

Ms Lipsett, who along with her sister Avila took over the running of the home from their mother Therese in March, described the care assistant from Mauritius as "wonderful".

Earlier, Circuit Court President Mr Justice Matthew Deery refused to interfere with a District Court interim order for the closure of Rostrevor House granted last Friday to the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).


An application to stop the residents being transferred to other homes was made by the Lipsett family. The judge said it was now being run by the HSE which had been given interim powers to make decisions concerning the residents.

If the home owners wished to question any aspect of the interim orders the proper procedure would have been to go to the District Court to argue its case. Mr Justice Deery said he had no jurisdiction to overturn an interim order of the District Court.

Dressed in a pink jacket and navy trousers, Ms Lipsett, a solicitor, conducted interviews in the sunny back garden of the imposing redbrick house in the well-to-do suburb.

There was no sign of any of the residents in the garden.

The home's reception area prominently displayed a notice informing residents and relatives how to make a complaint.

The Lipsett family, who are well known from their appearances in the social pages of newspapers, sprang to their defence after members of staff, including two care assistants and a catering assistant, made the allegations to inspectors from HIQA during a visit last month.

However, she said: "No complaint has ever been received before this. There have been numerous inspections before and nothing has ever been reported.

"These staff also had training in elder abuse and never came forward to report anything until now."

Ms Lipsett said the nurse on duty had never received a complaint nor had the nurse manager.

Her mother Therese was also never informed of any complaint, despite claims in the court documents from HIQA seeking an interim closure order, that she had been told by a care assistant that an elderly male resident was abused.

It was alleged the care assistant told her late last year that the male colleague had banged the resident's head against a door jamb.

"His record was perfect. I asked staff, relatives, residents. They said he was always nice and he was our friend."

He was suspended rather than dismissed two weeks ago.

"I don't think he would want to come back," she said.

Asked about the elderly man who is alleged to have been kicked on the floor by the care assistant she said the resident, who died in February, was violent due to his dementia.

"His own family agree he had dementia. He was a very large, violent man. He would have had to be restrained but there was never any kind of abuse."

Referring to another female resident who is alleged to have been heard screaming while taken to the bathroom by the care assistant, she said that the woman also has dementia and screamed "sporadically".

The woman's family were on the phone to her yesterday morning and said they had never heard any complaints about her care.

Irish Independent

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