Old people ‘mistreated’ in home

Staff at an old people’s home in southern Sweden have been accused of mistreating residents. Care assistants ignored prescriptions from nurses, ate up residents’ sweets and cakes, and treated residents and their families poorly, it has been alleged.

The home, in Gislaved in Jönköping county, was the subject of controversy four years ago when the son of a 93-year old woman resident made secret recordings which revealed that staff had used foul language and insulted the woman. The staff concerned were sacked.

The current accusations involve another department of the same home. The nurse responsible for medical care reported the department to the district council, which passed the case on to Jönköping County Council.

The council now intends to go into the home and supervise routines, saying that there have been serious failures.

“It is disturbing and surprising that it has happened again at the same home,” said Camilla Seitl, social advisory officer at the council.

Relatives first raised concerns in the summer about poor treatment by staff and failures in care. At a meeting in September, relatives are reported to have been united in their criticism of the home.

Residents have not received the help they need to dress, they have felt too afraid of staff to ask for help. There have also been complaints of long waits to go to the toilet and that eating schedules have changed depending on who was on duty.

The council has found evidence that on one occasion the nurse’s orders were not followed by staff.

According to Gunnel Lundgren, head of social services in Gislaved, the accusations that staff ate residents’ sweets and cakes was grounded in a misunderstanding.

“The staff thought that they had been offered them,” she said.

The failures at the home have been blamed on internal staff conflicts. According to the nurse’s report of the home, there is a complete lack of cooperation and respect between staff. Employees do not listen to managers, the nurse, each other or the residents.

One of the employees criticised in the complaint has been temporarily moved to another old people’s home in the same area. Another was given the chance to move, but refused.

“What has happened this time is not grounds for dismissal,” said Lundgren, who said it was wrong to compare the current problems at the home with the events of four years ago. Both the care assistants involved in that case were dismissed, although the labour court later ruled that one of them should not have been sacked.

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TT/The Local