Nursing home resident badly beaten at St. Joseph’s...
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Feb 02, 2017  |  Vote 0    0

Nursing home resident badly beaten at St. Joseph’s Villa

Hamilton Spectator

The family of a man violently beaten while asleep in his nursing home bed is furious with St. Joseph's Villa.

They also want to know why such assaults can't be prevented in long-term-care homes.

James Acker, 85, was taken by ambulance to the General Hospital on Saturday after a male resident with Alzheimer's went into his room at the Dundas nursing home around 2 a.m. and attacked him.

St. Joseph's Villa acknowledged the incident and say it's investigating.

"Our priority is to ensure the safety and security of our residents," said president Derrick Bernardo.

The Governors Road facility is owned by St. Joseph's Health System.

Acker suffered head trauma and has bleeding on the brain, his family noted. He also ended up with black eyes, a fat lip, and a swollen, wounded and bloody face.

Daughter Tammy Carbino says he has since deteriorated rapidly — from a reasonably high-functioning, calm and quiet senior with dementia who could feed and toilet himself — to one who is anxious, paranoid and babbling.

"He was attacked in his sleep. His pillow and sheets are full of blood," Carbino said.

Neither Carbino nor her mother, Diane Acker, want the attacker to be criminally charged. What they want is for St. Joseph's Villa — and all nursing homes — to be made safer for residents.

"We want the story out there," said Carbino. "We all have the right to be safe."

Bernardo said he's aware there's a problem.

"We know incidents of this nature are prevalent in long-term-care homes."

The province is working on improvements, he said, but added the attack on Acker was unusual.

"An attack of this nature where a resident has sustained major injuries is not typical of our organization."

Staff were surprised by the assault, describing it as "unexpected behaviour" by the attacker, Bernardo said.

The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care is investigating the attack, said spokesperson David Jensen in an email.

"The ministry intends to strengthen its … safety inspection program with new enforcement tools — including proposed financial penalties" to ensure concerns are addressed promptly.

The family says they put Acker in the nursing home last March when his wife couldn't care for him at their Waterdown home anymore. They placed him in a private room, costing $2,600 per month.

"We were so tormented doing this in the first place. It was an awful decision for us. There's so much guilt," Carbino said.

Mother and daughter allege that Acker was also sexually assaulted last September by a female resident who wandered into his room.

The Villa said it cannot confirm this or provide any information for privacy reasons.

Police were called by the Villa in both cases, says Carbino, but they told her there would be no charges because the perpetrators "were not in their right mind."


Wanda Morris, with the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), says such attacks are not a rarity.

"Something needs to be done. It's a significant and heinous problem."

Morris says CARP hasn't been able to find specific statistics and believes such incidents are under-reported.

The Villa has met with the family.

Carbino said far from feeling reassured, however, she now feels worse after hearing more details at the meeting that two personal support workers saw the beating but could not stop it — although Bernardo says they eventually managed to distract the attacker.

Carbino says safety in nursing homes should concern everybody.

"If this was happening to children, people wouldn't stand for it."

905-526-3392 | @CarmatTheSpec

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(15) Comment

By Faith | FEBRUARY 12, 2017 01:41 PM
the answer to all this seems to be if you don't like it, go to private care. We shouldn't have to go to private our government should be able to supply this care to us all, since we all will be in their shoes eventually.
By Faith | FEBRUARY 12, 2017 01:39 PM
I personally have been on a floor with several patients in several rooms and find it to be overwhelming for the staff members in the facility...but with that said, you can't put them on drugs/prescriptions to calm them down so you need to have better staffing solutions put in place. I would hope that by the time I am old enough to get into a facility like this that I would be taken better care of then todays standards. We need to improve this, take stand and contact the offices of authority and get this issue addressed properly.
By Faith | FEBRUARY 12, 2017 01:34 PM
since staffing is always an issue in these homes, the Government should finance a monitoring system that can be placed at the front desk (where there is always at least one staff member), that would show all the rooms in the unit on that floor. That person would solely responsible to monitor the security of the people in the home. Doors to rooms could then be locked automatically at night...and only opened by the staff that are on and need to go into the room...these people you have dementia and other things of that nature would then be secure in their beds.
By | FEBRUARY 06, 2017 05:26 PM
I work in the health profession. Yes I do put myself in someone's shoes. For those who get offended.; maybe we should spend time discussing solutions so we can at least try to prevent this. My heart goes out to both families and staff members that day if resources were scarce.
By John | FEBRUARY 06, 2017 03:57 PM
FYI, St. Joseph's Villa is not a nursing home, it's a long term care facility
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