POLICE INVESTIGATE CARE-HOME ASSAULT
Video prompts suspension of Santa Maria employees
A number of employees have been suspended and a police investigation launched following allegations of physical assault and neglect of a resident at a Regina care home.
The Santa Maria Senior Citizens Home forwarded a video recording of the alleged incident to the Regina Police Service for a criminal investigation, the care home said in a statement issued Friday evening.
Both the care home and the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region have also hired an external investigator to examine the issue of resident neglect.
A media liaison with Santa Maria said the facility was notified of the alleged abuse from a concern raised with the health region late Thursday evening. By Friday afternoon, officials at the care home viewed the video and learned more details of the complaint.
The employees involved were then removed from the care home and put on suspension until further notice. The care home would not say exactly how many employees were suspended, and the origin of the video has not yet been made clear.
A number of allegations regarding abuse and neglect of residents at Santa Maria have been brought forward in the provincial legislature in recent weeks, including the case of Margaret Warholm, who died at the care home last year.
The statement from Santa Maria said Friday’s developments stem from a new incident and are unrelated to other allegations previously reported in the media.
Health Minister Dustin Duncan described the latest allegations as “appalling” and said the ministry is examining how it can step in and “take a more active role in the day-to-day operations of Santa Maria” until concerns about the facility are resolved.
“I am completely appalled at the serious allegation of employees assaulting a senior in their care at Santa Maria Senior Citizens Home. Our government has zero tolerance for abuse of seniors,” Duncan said in a statement.
Cam Broten, leader of the official opposition, said in a statement the NDP is calling on the government to establish a seniors advocate office, as well as minimum care standards to ensure accountability.
“It is important for this government to recognize that, while instances of physical abuse are isolated, other very serious problems are widespread throughout our care facilities. Short staffing is a significant problem, and the quality of care in facilities throughout our province could and should be so much better,” said Broten.
The care home issued an immediate apology to the affected resident and their family.
“To the resident involved, and extended family members, we are deeply troubled by this incident and sincerely apologize,” the Santa Maria statement said.
“Beyond addressing the immediate needs of the resident, we will hold those responsible accountable for their actions, and begin working to regain your trust.”
In light of the allegations, Santa Maria said it plans to conduct an employee training review. It is also participating in a review of operations and care procedures led by Ombudsman Saskatchewan.