Care nurse is cleared over escape of patient
A nurse has been acquitted of professional misconduct in relation to the escape of an elderly Alzheimer's sufferer in her care in Westmeath.
At a fitness to practise inquiry, nurse Ewa Ksiezopolska (64) was found not guilty on eight counts, including the three relating to the elderly resident who escaped from Maple Court Nursing Home in Castlepollard, Co Westmeath, in September 2014.
However, the Nursing and Midwifery Board inquiry determined she was guilty of professional misconduct in relation to medical management and recording errors, and the destruction of a medical record.
Ms Ksiezopolska worked as a staff nurse at Maple Court, which caters for up to 21 elderly residents, from 2013 until 2015. She faced claims in relation to three residents living at the nursing home in 2014 and 2015.
The first resident, referred to as Resident A, was a man in his 80s suffering from Alzheimer's. On the night of September 21, 2014, while Ms Ksiezopolska was on duty, Resident A escaped from the nursing home, after the front door had been left open by a visitor. A short while later, he was found on a public roadway, 2km away by the nephew of another resident.
During her evidence, Ms Ksiezopolska said she was busy on the night Resident A escaped, as she was doing the medication round with the 21 residents.
She said the only staff on duty that night were herself and a health care assistant. She recalled that Resident A was "restless" at the time, and was suffering from a kidney infection, as well as Alzheimer's.
Ms Ksiezopolska said that following this incident, an additional staff member was put on the night shifts.
Solicitor Gerard O'Donnell, acting for Ms Ksiezopolska, said "Nurse Ewa was put in an impossible position" on the night Resident A escaped, as she was busy with the care of 21 residents.
The nurse admitted she made mistakes in relation to the way she recorded the medications given to Resident B, an elderly woman suffering from dementia, depression and underlying psychotic issues. No harm came to Resident B as a result of Ms Ksiezopolska's mistakes. She also admitted to discarding a medical document belonging to a third resident in September 2015. "I put it in the bin. It was my mistake," she said.
Ms Ksiezopolska said she has not worked since she was dismissed from Maple Court in the autumn of 2015.