Editor’s note: This story has been edited to include information from a public report authored by a Long Term Care home inspector regarding allegations of sexual abuse by a Personal Support Worker towards a handful of H.J. McFarland Home residents.
AN OFFICIAL SPOKESPERSON WITH THE COUNTY OF PRINCE EDWARD MAINTAINS THE ALLEGATIONS ARE IN NO WAY RELATED TO THE STAFFING CHANGES ANNOUNCED MONDAY AFTERNOON
The County of Prince Edward will be launching a staffing search in relation to senior management positions at its long term care facility but an official with the municipality insists the changes are not linked to allegations of sexual abuse of residents by a front line staff member.
In a press release issued by the municipality Monday afternoon, Robert McAuley, Acting Chief Administrative Officer, announced an update on the senior leadership team at H.J. McFarland Memorial Home.
Kim Mauro has resigned as Administrator of the long-term care home.
Natasha Williams, Director of Care, will serve as the acting Administrator while Linda Boyce will take over as acting Director of Care during the transition period.
McAuley has also announced that the employment relationship between the County and Rachel Gillman has ended, and she will no longer serve as the Resident Quality Supervisor.
Ulana Orrick will take over as the acting Resident Quality Supervisor during the transition period.
H. J. McFarland Memorial Home in Picton is an accredited, non-profit, 84-bed long-term care facility operated by the County of Prince Edward.
“Staff at H.J. McFarland Memorial Home provide exceptional resident-centred care in a safe and compassionate environment,” Mayor Steve Ferguson says. “We are confident that the Home will continue to run smoothly during this transition, and the needs of the residents remain foremost in our minds.”
(Editor’s note: A version of this story indicated ALL resident’s families were contacted via email by the municipality; this was not the case.)
On Tuesday, County of Prince Edward Communications Director Mark Kerr told the Gazette the personnel moves were unrelated to a very troublesome report from late fall 2018 that discussed sexual assault allegations and lags in the reporting of those allegations by front line staff to Directors of Care and Site administrators.
According to a report issued Nov. 28, 2018 and posted to the province’s Long Term Care public reporting website publicreporting.ltchomes.net , Provincial Inspector Darlene Murphy visited the home Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 and conducted a Critical Incident System inspection.
The intakes in Murphy’s inspection included alleged incidents of staff to resident abuse.
According to Murphy’s report, a PSW working at the home reported to the Director of Care they had been made aware of an alleged incident of sexual abuse involving a resident and an unnamed PSW.
The Director of Care initiated an immediate investigation into the allegations and took measures to safe guard the residents including reporting the incident as required by the legislation to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, the police and the substitute decision makers (SDM).
The report indicates the PSW that initially came forward was interviewed by Murphy and stated while providing care to a resident, the resident disclosed an incident involving a fellow PSW. The staff member being interviewed stated after their discussion with the co-workers, they believed several additional staff were aware of similar incidents and had never reported them.
Murphy’s report explains that during the home’s investigation into this alleged incident of sexual abuse, subsequent incidents involving four other residents were disclosed by three other PSWs with knowledge of situation.
The PSW that came forward with the allegation did not immediately report what they had heard from the resident and the interviews with subsequent PSWs indicate they had varying degrees of knowledge of possible sexual abuse towards residents but did not come forward.
According to the report, the PSW in question was was interviewed and indicated at the time of the incidents they had not considered their actions to be inappropriate. The staff member confirmed they had received annual abuse training and stated they did recall this type of behaviour being outlined during their PSW education as inappropriate. Mauro was interviewed in regards to these incidents and stated the actions were inappropriate and viewed them as taking advantage of vulnerable residents.
Murphy provided the home with a written notice that the Licensee had failed to comply with the Longterm Care Home Act of 2007, specifically failing to comply with the second portion that ‘Without in any way restricting the generality of the duty provided for in section 19, every licensee shall ensure that there is in place a written policy to promote zero tolerance of abuse and neglect of residents, and shall ensure that the policy is complied with.’
Murphy’s finding was the licensee failed to ensure written policy to promote zero tolerance of abuse and neglect of residents was complied with and, as outlined in a written notice, alleged, suspected and witnessed incidents of staff to resident sexual abuse involving residents and the unnamed were not immediately reported.
The home’s abuse policy was reviewed, “Prevention of Abuse and Neglect of a resident”, (last updated in Jan. 2018) and ‘indicated all employees are required to immediately report any suspected or known incident of abuse and neglect to the Director of MOHLTC and the Executive Director/Administrator or designate in charge of the home. The abuse policy also defined sexual abuse as any consensual or non-consensual touching, behaviour, or remarks of a sexual nature that is directed to a resident by a licensee or staff member.’
“The PSWs (with varying degrees of knowledge of the alleged abuse) failed to comply with the abuse policy in regards to the reporting of these alleged, suspected and witnessed incidents,” Murphy wrote in her findings.
Inquiries to the Prince Edward OPP if these allegations are have been or are in the process of being investigated have not been returned.