Saskatchewan nursing home workers suspended after alleged assault

By on December 13, 2014

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REGINA — Employees at a Regina nursing home have been suspended and managers are apologizing after allegations of assault and neglect.

Santa Maria Senior Citizens Home issued a statement Friday evening saying an incident had been brought forward in the last 24 hours.

The statement, on behalf of executive director John Kelly, says the residence is “deeply troubled” and apologizes to the resident involved and that resident’s extended family members.

A media spokesperson for the home says the incident is not related to the death of 74-year-old Margaret Warholm, a case recently brought forward in the Saskatchewan legislature.

Video of the alleged incident and other details have since been provided to the Regina police for a criminal investigation.

The media release says the Santa Maria home has a zero tolerance policy for resident harm.

“We are in the process of notifying the family members of our other residents, inviting them to contact us with their questions and concerns,” says the release.

Health Minister Dustin Duncan says he is appalled by the allegations.

“If these allegations are true, any employee involved will face the most severe discipline possible and could face criminal charges, pending the outcome of the police investigation,” he said.

“I have directed the Ministry of Health to examine what options are available for either the Ministry or the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region to step in and take a more active role in the day-to-day operations of Santa Maria until we are confident that concerns with this facility have been resolved.”

The Santa Maria home has been at the centre of debate on provincial care standards for the last few weeks after the death of Warholm was brought forward.

Warholm was a resident at Santa Maria when she was admitted to hospital in October 2013 for severe abdominal pain. She died days later of a gastro-vascular disorder.

Medical records show that Warholm reported losing 30 pounds in a year and had compression fractures in her vertebrae. Her family attributes those to a fall Warholm took while aides were moving her at the centre. She also had a large bedsore on her back.

Saskatchewan’s ombudsman is currently investigating her death.