Friday 23 March 2018

Now gardai will probe abuse at horror home

Woman heard 'screaming' in room n Male assistant at centre of allegations

Tom Brady, Eilish O'Regan, Dearbhail McDonald and Edel O'Connell

GARDAI are to investigate shocking allegations of abuse at a horror nursing home, the Irish Independent has learned.

Officers are currently examining a report on the alleged abuse at the Rostrevor House nursing home in Rathgar, on Dublin's southside.

It revealed a catalogue of abuse -- an unusually high number of falls and other injuries to vulnerable old people which were only reported to inspectors last month.

The most harrowing abuse claims centred on one care assistant, who is identified in court documents as 'P'. He worked at the home from 2008 until recently when he was dismissed.

However, it emerged last night that there was currently nothing to prevent him from working in another nursing home.

Among the five residents abused, he is alleged to have targeted one elderly female and a man who died earlier this year of causes unrelated to the abuse.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) provided a summary of the alleged abuses to the gardai on May 27 and since then it has been under examination to determine if a criminal investigation is required.

Gardai said the allegations will be fully investigated. That will be before a file is completed and sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will then decide whether or not criminal charges should be brought.

It emerged that:

> 'P' banged a resident's head against a door jam. He told colleagues to lie to the man's son and say he had fallen in order to explain bruising and blood.

> He took a female resident to the bathroom on his own as colleagues heard her scream.

> HIQA inspectors described staff at the home as "respectful and caring" after an unannounced visit last August.

> The truth only emerged when staff acted as whistleblowers during a visit by inspectors at the end of last month.

> An alarming level of falls were revealed after they examined a sample of eight residents.

The Health Service Executive, which took charge of the home last Friday after HIQA secured an interim court order cancelling its registration, is attempting to find another home for the residents.

An affidavit on the case revealed HIQA inspectors believed there was a serious risk to the life of its 23 residents.

The owners of the home will today ask a judge to prevent the transfer of the residents "all over the place" after they signalled their intention to fight against the closure order.

They refused to make any comment on the shock revelations when contacted by the Irish Independent.

The home is run by the company Kitelm, whose two directors are Avilla Lipsett, a former model; and her sister Sarah, a solicitor.

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