A NURSE with two decades of unblemished service has been suspended from a city care home for covering a dementia patient’s mouth with his hand and yelling at her to “shut up”.
Stephen O’Donnell had been working as a staff nurse at the Victoria Manor Care Home in Leith when the incident took place in September last year.
O’Donnell was suspended for a year after he admitted the charges but refused to attend a misconduct hearing at the Nursing and Midwifery Council earlier this month because he “saw no benefit”.
A report on the NMC hearing revealed that he told the patient to “shut up” and “be quiet” in a raised voice.
It said: “The patient has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and suffered from anxiety which she displayed using repetitive speech . . . he acted in an inappropriate manner.”
The NMC’s counsel, Yusuf Segovia, told the panel that evidence “suggested this was not an isolated incident”.
And the report said: “The panel has seen little information to suggest that Mr O’Donnell has reflected upon his actions.”
Victoria Manor, which is run by Bupa, temporarily stopped admitting residents last December in the wake of a critical inspection report. It reverted to accepting patients at the beginning of this year, however, after improving its services.
A spokesman for Victoria Manor – which cares for up to 90 elderly patients – said: “Our residents’ welfare is always our number one priority.
“The action of Stephen O’Donnell, a fully qualified and experienced staff nurse, was unacceptable.
“We immediately suspended and then dismissed him last year, and referred him to the NMC for their consideration.”
O’Donnell’s conduct was also condemned by Alzheimer Scotland chiefs.
Jim Pearson, the charity’s deputy director for policy, said: “The Standards of Care for Dementia in Scotland are based on human rights and set out the standard of care which every person with dementia should expect, regardless of where their care is provided.
“We are deeply disappointed when the quality of care falls below these standards.”