Four employees of an Ontario long-term care facility have been suspended and two investigations have been launched, after a concerned man installed a hidden camera in his mother’s room and captured shocking video of neglect and abuse.
Camille Parent said he was horrified to see video of his 85-year-old mother being mistreated and neglected at St. Joseph’s at Fleming long-term care home in Peterborough, Ont.
His mother, Hellen MacDonald, suffers from dementia.
“To see my mom… to see what happened to her… I’ve never had my heart beat like it beated that night,” Parent said.
In the video footage, collected over a three-week period, one staff member is seen shoving a feces-covered rag in MacDonald’s face.
Another clip shows a staff member blowing his nose in her sheet before proceeding to make up her bed with the soiled linen.
In another clip employees are seen changing MacDonald’s diaper with her room’s door wide-open.
Parent planted the hidden camera in his mother’s room after multiple incidents that he found suspicious. Last year she sustained a black eye for reasons still unknown to the family.
The CEO of St. Joseph’s at Fleming reviewed the footage and said he was shocked by what he saw. When asked if he considered the employees’ actions abusive, he wouldn’t give his personal opinion.
“I don’t want to give my opinion directly,” CEO Alan Cavell told CTV News. “I would think that most people would say that it was.”
The four employees seen in the videos have been suspended with pay, while a formal internal investigation has been launched by St. Joseph’s. The Ontario Ministry of Health has confirmed that it is also investigating the case.
According to the province’s Long-Term Care Homes Act, which came into effect in 2010, there is a zero-tolerance policy for any type of neglect or abuse.
Parent said he wants to see an independent probe into the case.
“Number one thing I’d like to see is the ombudsman get involved and take the whole investigation away from the crown,” he said.
This case once again raises concerns about residents’ safety in long-term care facilities. A W5 investigation earlier this year discovered that in just one year, more than 10,000 seniors suffered abuse in nursing homes across Canada.
Parent said he’s pleased his video footage has raised awareness about this serious issue. He believes the key to improved care is to lower the ratio of residents to staff and to hold employees to a higher standard.