A scathing report from the Ministry of Health has exposed the failures of a London long-term care home in addressing allegations of elder abuse.
After an initial inspection found no issues of non-compliance, a second inspection at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care found numerous failings.
The report follows a decision in June to publicly identify Mount Hope as the location where a number of cases of elder abuse took place in 2014.
Former nurse Susan Muzylowsky admitted to verbally, physically, and sexually abusing 19 patients over an eight-month period.
She was suspended by the hospital and never returned to work and resigned as a member of the College of Nurses of Ontario in December 2015.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care released a report on Wednesday, detailing several issues in the handling of complaints against Muzylowsky.
According to the report, two registered nurses who were in charge of the home during a specified time confirmed they were aware of allegations of abuse for roughly 12 months before passing the allegations on to the director as was the home’s policy.
Two personal care providers also confirmed they had reported allegations of abuse to the two nurses repeatedly throughout that twelve month period. One reported to the Ministry that they felt “let down by registered staff” as their concerns were never reported to management.
In one incident, a resident allegedly told a registered practical nurse that the nurse in question withheld medication and made a comment “upsetting to the resident”. The RPN reported the complaint to the two nurses in charge at the time, one of which told the nurse in question about the allegations.
The Ministry reports a personal care provider later witnessed the nurse confront the resident, who “looked at [the nurse] with fear in their expression”.
The Ministry’s report alleges that once the director was made aware of the allegations, they failed to notify police.
The Coordinator of Resident Care, meantime, failed to properly investigate the allegations; an internal review did not investigate all relevant documents or interview relevant parties, including residents who were identified as possible victims.
An incident report only identified 71% of the alleged victims. The director confirmed to the Ministry they were aware that the number of residents listed on the report did not match up with the number of alleged victims, but the director failed to update the report once they were aware of the discrepancy.
The director also confirmed that family members, persons of importance, or Substitute Decision Makers were not contacted at the time the allegations were received.
St. Joseph’s owns the home and reported the misconduct to London Police on June 9th, the same day Mount Hope administrators met with residents and families to discuss the abuse.
St. Joseph’s Health Care London released a statement on Wednesday, stating:
“Since 2014 the journey of improvement at Mount Hope has been an ongoing priority for the organization’s leadership team. We are committed to ensuring our practices and policies support a culture of accountability for our staff and ensure safe and quality care for our residents. We recognize and apologize for any distress this has caused residents and families as well as our staff and the community.”
AM980 has reached out to St. Joseph’s Health Care London President Dr. Gillian Kernaghan and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. As of 7a.m. Thursday, calls have not yet been returned.