Elder Abuse

Nurses tape woman’s mouth shut
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 | 3:32 PM ET

CBC News

Two nurses at a seniors’ home in New Glasgow have been disciplined for covering the mouth of a resident with tape and drawing a smile on her.

The two employees of Glen Haven Manor put non-sticky medical tape over the elderly woman’s mouth in an apparent attempt to pacify her.

“Both considered it a harmless attempt at humour to distract the patient,” said Don Hussher, chairman of the board of directors, adding both workers now realize it was “a form of elder abuse camouflaged as horseplay.”

He said the elderly woman, believed to be in her 80s, wasn’t hurt.

The incident, involving a junior registered nurse and a senior licensed practical nurse, happened late last month, but administrators only found out about it a week later, Hussher said.

He said both staffers have been disciplined, with one receiving a five-day suspension and the other a 10-day suspension. He would not say whether they are still working at Glen Haven Manor.

Hussher said several other employees who knew about the incident but didn’t report it have also been disciplined, but he didn’t give details.

Though Hussher called the taping an isolated incident, he said the board has taken steps to ensure it won’t happen again.

Hussher said the Nova Scotia Department of Health has been told about the incident so it can decide whether to launch its own investigation.

The woman’s relatives have also been contacted and advised of their right to file a complaint, he added.

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