Se­nior still in hospi­tal af­ter nurs­ing home at­tack

Won’t re­turn to St. Joseph’s Villa, daugh­ter says

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - CARMELA FRAGOMENI cfragomeni@thes­pec.com 905-526-3392 | @Car­matTheSpec

An 85-year-old man se­verely beaten while asleep in his nurs­ing home bed three weeks ago is still in hospi­tal. James Acker’s fam­ily wor­ries his de­te­ri­o­rat­ing health might be per­ma­nent.

Acker was beaten at St. Joseph’s Villa on Jan. 28 by a res­i­dent with Alzheimer’s who wan­dered into his room at the Dun­das nurs­ing home around 2 a.m.

Acker — who has dementia but was high-func­tion­ing, his fam­ily says — was taken by am­bu­lance to Hamil­ton Gen­eral Hospi­tal with head trauma, bleed­ing on the brain, and a swollen, wounded and bloody face, in­clud­ing black eyes and a fat lip.

On Thurs­day, daugh­ter Tammy Carbino said her fa­ther has re­cov­ered from his bruises, but his hand­eye co-or­di­na­tion is now off, and he is now also in­con­ti­nent.

St. Joseph’s Villa pres­i­dent Derrick Bernardo ac­knowl­edged the at­tack and said shortly af­ter that the Villa’s pri­or­ity was “to en­sure the safety and se­cu­rity of our res­i­dents.”

Carbino and her mother Diane Acker say they’ve met twice with Villa ad­min­is­tra­tors to push for as­sur­ances that Acker will be safe when he re­turns from the hospi­tal.

The Gover­nor’s Road nurs­ing home pro­posed plac­ing Acker on a dif­fer­ent floor from his at­tacker and promised to pro­vide a re­port on its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Carbino said.

But the next day, the fam­ily was told there was no room for Acker on any other floor, she said.

That’s when the fam­ily, still await­ing the as­sault re­port, in­formed the Villa that Acker would not be re­turn­ing.

This week, Bernardo’s of­fice de­clined to com­ment, re­fer­ring all me­dia in­quiries to the pub­lic re­la­tions staff at St. Joseph’s Health Sys­tem, which owns the Villa.

St. Joseph’s Health Sys­tem spokesper­son Maria Hayes said she was look­ing into the sit­u­a­tion but had not re­sponded to re­quests for com­ment by end of day Thurs­day.

A Min­istry of Health and Long Term Care spokesper­son was also look­ing into the min­istry’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the as­sault but did not get back to The Spec­ta­tor in time for pub­li­ca­tion.

Carbino said the or­deal has over­whelmed her mother Diane and ex­hausted her.

“She feels guilty be­cause he had to go into a home.”

Diane said she’s sad­dened and no longer trusts the Villa. It was only when the fam­ily de­cided that Acker would not re­turn that “I slept that night, know­ing he doesn’t have to go back.”

Carbino said she and her mother have looked at seven other homes so far.

Two of them told the fam­ily the type of beat­ing Acker un­der­went could eas­ily hap­pen there too, she said.

“It’s been pretty scary.”

I slept that night, know­ing he doesn’t have to go back. DIANE ACKER JAMES ACKER’S WIFE

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF TAMMY CARBINO

James Acker, 85, seen in a photo from last month, has been in hospi­tal three weeks since he was at­tacked by a fel­low res­i­dent at St. Joseph’s Villa.

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