Sunday 24 June 2018

Nurses who breached trust of the vulnerable patients they cared for

Maeve Bell (38), who worked at Elmhurst nursing home in Glasnevin, Dublin, 'siphoned off' money from a comfort account of
a resident. Photo: Courtpix
Maeve Bell (38), who worked at Elmhurst nursing home in Glasnevin, Dublin, 'siphoned off' money from a comfort account of a resident. Photo: Courtpix
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

One of the high-profile misconduct cases to come to light in recent years involved a former nursing home manager, who was sentenced to 15 months for stealing €45,000 from a patient.

Maeve Bell (38), who worked at Elmhurst nursing home in Glasnevin, Dublin, "siphoned off" money from a comfort account of a resident.

A court hearing was told the comfort accounts were used to pay for the residents' upkeep and other personal needs.

A resident advocate inspected the account after the resident became upset at the low levels in the account.

It was inspected by a resident advocate who found it had reduced from €17,000 to €600 in the space of four months.

Ms Bell (inset) told the court she was in financial difficulties and her house was being repossessed. At the time she was in debt to moneylenders, she told the court in October 2016.

A separate fitness-to-practise case by the Nursing and Midwifery Board was told a former psychiatrist staff nurse in the Central Mental Hospital failed to deposit money into a staff safe.

Patrick Stephen Farrell (45) was found guilty of professional misconduct.

The inquiry heard he worked at the hospital from December 2004 until June 2014 when his employment ended.

Mr Farrell was accused of failing to deposit €20 for patient A around October 23, 2011.

He failed to deposit €10 for Patient B and €50 for Patient C in the same year.

The inquiry heard that family or friends of patients would leave money for their use in the hospital shop or for day-to-day spending.

The fitness-to-practise committee found that there was dishonesty in a professional sense and there was a serious breach of trust.

Mr Farrell said the monies were refunded and an apology given. The inquiry was told that the patients concerned were very vulnerable.

Irish Independent

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