Monday 23 September 2019

Video of man with dementia is 'gross intrusion'

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Tim Healy

The president of the High Court has described as "reprehensible" the posting of a video on social media of an elderly man, a ward of court with advanced dementia, in a nursing home.

The filming of the man, arising from a dispute between family members over the quality of nursing home care he is getting, was a "gross intrusion" of his privacy, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said.

Two family members to whom the man had granted power of attorney, the HSE and a geriatrician all believe the man is getting good care in the nursing home.

Certain other family members dispute that and want him returned to his own home where some of them are living.

The man is a ward of court and his case was mentioned yesterday.

Counsel for the family members who have concerns about the nursing home care said they wanted the court to ask the geriatrician to revisit the man in the nursing home, assess a range of issues raised by her clients, and report back to the court.

Sarah McKechnie BL, for the two family members with powers of attorney, said they and the geriatrician were happy with the nursing home care.

Relentless

While not objecting to the geriatrician making a further report, her clients were very concerned about the impact of the "relentless" pursuit of a range of issues by other family members on the man living out his remaining days "in peace", she said.

Katherine Kelleher, solicitor for the HSE, said there had been multiple information and data requests, including under FOI legislation, from the dissenting family members of which the HSE was not put on notice. The HSE was also very concerned that a video had been posted on social media of the man in the nursing home and had been in contact with Facebook about that, she said.

In his ruling, the judge said any information requests should go through the HSE's lawyers.

He said the posting of the video was "reprehensible" and he regarded with "complete disfavour" such actions in relation to elderly and vulnerable people who are wards of court.

The judge said he would ask the geriatrician to report to the court again on the man's nursing home care.

Irish Independent

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