Care Worker At Nursing Home Hit Residents In Their 80’s

A CARE worker at a nursing home hit a wheelchair-bound pensioner and used soiled water to clean another resident’s teeth.

Nina Strange’s catalogue of abuse of people in their 70s and 80s came to light after a work placement trainee turned whistle-blower.

It was the third time in three years that staff at Rutland Manor, in Ilkeston, which cares for dementia sufferers, had been investigated over alleged mistreatment of patients.

Strange, who was found guilty after a trial at Derby Crown Court, was suspended from her job as a senior healthcare assistant immediately after the allegations had been made.

It was alleged that the 48-year-old, of Heanor, had hit an 88-year-old wheelchair-bound woman across the back of the head, twice hit an 81-year-old man around the head and pulled an 81-year-old woman’s hair as she put her to bed.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the 20-year-old complainant also saw Strange dip a toothbrush into bath water, in which a patient had just defecated, before using it to brush the 75-year-old woman’s teeth.

Strange, of Old Coppice Side, denied all five charges of ill-treatment by a carer of a person without capacity but was convicted of each count. Sentencing was adjourned.

Edward Munslow, director of operations at the home, in Heanor Road, said he was pleased with the jury’s decision.

He said: “This sends a very clear signal to everybody working in care that behaviour like this will not be tolerated. Although this awful incident has occurred, it is due to our robust procedures which led to a successful investigation and conclusion.

“We want to thank all the agencies involved for their professionalism and support during the evidence-gathering process.”

In February 2004, Rutland Manor staff nurse Dudu Bhembe failed to properly examine Kenneth Newton, who had fallen and who died a few weeks later. Bhembe resigned from her job and, almost three years after the death, she was given a two-year caution by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

In April 2006, nurse Pascale Scott was accused of causing actual bodily harm to resident Margaret Palmer. The case was discontinued because of insufficient evidence and the court was then told that Scott had been struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for abusing patients at a home in Cornwall.

A spokesman for the Commission for Social Care Inspection, which works to improve social care and stamp out bad practice, said: “CSCI has been made aware of incidents at Rutland Manor care home relating to staff, and has confidence that the provider has appropriate safeguarding procedures in place to deal with concerns.

“As part of our regulatory role, we will continue to look at the home’s procedures so that it deals with issues that may arise.”

Mr Munslow said there were “robust” vetting procedures in place for new staff at the home and he was confident that similar incidents would not happen there in the future.

He said: “Before we take on staff, they have to have two references, go through a Criminal Records Bureau check and we also run a Protection of Vulnerable Adults check.

“We do that before they even get through the door.

“The fact that someone felt they could blow the whistle was, we believe, down to the support given to the lady.

“There are mechanisms in place where people can bring any suspicious activity to our attention.

“We are very proactive and act swiftly.”

Strange declined to comment.