‘No evidence’ of abuse at dementia care home
Watchdog hits out over sexual assault findings
THERE was no evidence of institutional abuse at Dunmurry Manor care home, a watchdog said yesterday.
The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) disagreed with sections of a scathing report by an elderly person’s advocate into the treatment of those with dementia.
It said the conclusion some were allegedly exposed to sexualised behaviour by fellow residents in the Belfast facility was presented in an unjustified fashion.
The RQIA added: “Most seriously we found no evidence of institutional abuse and do not believe the commissioner’s findings support this statement.”
The authority’s statement said it found instances where the quality of care was not to the expected standard and worked with the management of the home to support improvement. Followup inspections found care did get better for a period.
It added: “In respect of the findings of resident-on-resident sexual assault, RQIA is very concerned at how the commissioner has chosen to present this finding.
“Disinhibited sexualised behaviour is not uncommon in people with dementia. For that reason, it is not regarded as criminal activity and is dealt with sensitively by health and social care trust safeguarding teams who work closely with care providers to mitigate risks to all residents and to develop care plans that recognise such behaviours as a potential expression of distress.
“RQIA does not believe there is any justification for the commissioner’s presentation of this finding and is concerned about the impact on residents and their families.” Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland Eddie Lynch has said the failure to put in place a robust process to protect female residents had violated their right to enjoy their home and private life.
He added he found evidence of patients turning on other patients and subjecting them to alleged physical and sexual assaults.
The Department of Health’s top civil servant Richard Pengelly has called a meeting with health and social care organisations on the matter. He added: “No one should be in any doubt about how seriously this issue is being taken and indeed has been taken.”
REPORT Dunmurry Manor
CONCERNS Eddie Lynch