Friday 24 November 2017

Lipsett tells gardai that care worker defrauded Rostrevor

LEAFY SUBURBS: Therese Lipsett's home in Rathgar, Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath
LEAFY SUBURBS: Therese Lipsett's home in Rathgar, Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

THE founder of a nursing home at the centre of allegations of elder abuse has made a formal complaint to gardai about one of the three staff members who reported their concerns to the health authorities.

Therese Lipsett is understood to have made the formal complaint against one of the whistle blowers at Terenure Garda Station on Friday night, with accusations of defrauding the nursing home by allegedly claiming for hours that hadn't been worked.

A garda source confirmed that Mrs Lipsett had notified them of the alleged fraud some time ago but did not want to pursue the matter at that stage. She asked gardai to investigate her complaint on Friday night, days after it emerged that the same staff member and two colleagues had reported the nursing home, Rostrevor, to the authorities.

The allegations of elder abuse at the nursing home in Rathgar, Co Dublin, came to light last week in a court application by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA). The health watchdog said three staff members claimed that patients had been beaten, kicked and abused. A care assistant known as 'P' was alleged to have kicked one male resident, bruised another resident by grabbing him and to have insisted on bringing an elderly woman to the bathroom alone, from where her screams could be heard.

Gardai are investigating the alleged assault by the care assistant, who has been suspended from duty. The inquiry is focussing on five assaults against three elderly patients, and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations has been drafted in to help.

Gardai were last week looking to speak to the Mauritian care assistant at the centre of abuse allegations in the Rathgar home. A resident in his north inner-city Dublin apartment building said 'P' had moved out of the building in mid-December last and he had no idea of his whereabouts. He said gardai had called to Henrietta Hall on Bolton Street and interviewed him and other residents but none had any idea where 'P' had gone.

A number of care assistants at Rostrevor have been interviewed and more staff, patients and their families are due to be interviewed in the coming weeks.

Hiqa sought to close the home because of the risk to the life, health and welfare of the 23 elderly patients. The owners of Rostrevor have 24 days to appeal.

Therese Lipsett resigned as a director of the company that controls the nursing home in March, three months after she was struck off the Register of Nurses for professional misconduct. Her daughter, Sarah, a solicitor, replaced her as director. The other director is her sister, Avila. Sarah Lipsett has claimed that the allegations of elder abuse were "unfounded" and the result of a "personal vendetta" between staff members.

She said that the three staff who made the allegations to the authority never reported them to anyone at the home.

Sunday Independent

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