Trouble at home

Posted by on May 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm.

Some disturbing allegations have recently been revealed to the Times by two nurses, one currently working for the home and one whose position has been terminated. They have asked to remain anonymous.

While some of those claims could not be substantiated, one, a dismaying abuse of power, stands out.

“Stealing from the residents.

That’s been going on for years… And recently there was a lady who was suspended—she’s working there, still,” said one of the nurses. “She stole from a resident who had just passed away. She was stealing for years and admitted it, and they still allowed her to come back.”

The nurses also said that the same nurse accepted cheques by residents, something that is clearly against the home’s policy.

It’s not the first time the facility has dealt with accusations of caregivers stealing from residents, according to Susan Turnbull, the County’s finance chief. She also oversees the operations of McFarland nursing home. Turbull says that each accusation of theft is taken very seriously.

“This is the residents’ home,” said Turnbull. “This is their home. So if they want to put the things that they value, whether it’s something that they sit on, the table beside their bed, or if it’s a piece of jewellery it should be protected and it is protected, as far as I’m concerned.

“I’m aware of some sad situations where we’ve had to deal with that [accusations of theft from residents], and we take that very seriously. We do. I was not aware that that was continuing to happen.”

In any case of allegations of theft against residents, the staff member is suspended and there is an investigation. But if the criteria to prove guilt are not met, the suspension must be lifted. And that does mean that occasionally a person who steals may be returned to work. While that may anger the staff, Turnbull explained, it’s not possible to reveal the reasons behind revoking a suspension, because of employer-employee privacy rules.

“There’s a process for doing all of this stuff,” said Turnbull. “I’m aware that staff have been frustrated, that staff have asked, what are you doing? But I’m sure you can understand, if you were having an issue, you wouldn’t want me telling so and so, well, she’s at step two. It’s a very difficult problem, because of that respect for privacy.”

Turnbull did not comment further because of employee confidentiality, but rather said if any member of her staff had concerns they should address those concerns to her. Inquiries made to the administrator of the facility were directed to Turnbull.

OPP Constable Kim Guthrie pulled out two previous reports in which McFarland Home staff had been accused of stealing from residents.

In August 2008 a resident’s jewellery went missing and although there were no suspects, the report indicated that an unnamed staff member may have been responsible.

In November 2009, both a resident and a staff member reported cash missing. Again, a staff member was suspected, however the matter was dealt with internally, so the police report contained no further information.

Guthrie added that while all thefts should be reported to the OPP, they can’t say how many thefts have gone unreported.

Leave a Reply