A NURSE who administered medication to elderly care home residents by hiding it in their food and drink has avoided being struck off.
Mariebel Dy admitted to 13 charges at a hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), with a panel finding that she had displayed “low regard for the welfare of vulnerable residents”.
In addition to covertly administering the medication, she also threatened to punch a female resident, put items in front of pensioners to prevent them standing up and failed to call a doctor when a resident complained of chest pains.
The incidents took place over the course of nine months, while Dy worked at the North Merchiston Care Home in the Capital, where she was a staff nurse in a unit for patients with advanced dementia between September 2009 and June 2010. A spokesperson for Four Seasons Health Care, which operates the home, said that its other staff had been “distressed” by the case and felt “badly let down” by Dy’s actions.
The spokesperson added: “We are grateful to our caring staff who raised their concerns with the manager, as all staff are encouraged to do under our whistleblowing policy.
“The manager suspended Mariebel Dy pending inquiries and notified the residents’ families, the local authority safeguarding team, the Care Inspectorate and the police. The wellbeing and comfort of residents is our first priority.”
Dy was subsequently dismissed by the company, with the NMC this week imposing a 12-month suspension order, which will be reviewed before it expires, after “serious misconduct” was established.
The panel heard that the nurse, who had also worked at the Bonnington Care Home in Edinburgh for six years, had 34 years of experience in nursing and had completed the relevant adaption courses after arriving in the UK in 2001. But she went on to commit “numerous and serious” breaches of the NMC code at the Nort Merchiston home.
On June 17, 2010, Dy used “an inappropriate level of force” when restraining a resident when she pinned her to the bed with her hands.
In one incident, she told care staff not to take two residents to the toilet as they were going to bed at 5pm, and in another ordered that the pair were kept in bed all day, as it was too late to get them up.
Dy admitted that she should not have administered medication to residents covertly in their food and drink, but claimed she was extremely busy and “compelled to cut corners” during her shifts.
The panel found that Dy had shown some remorse, but that it was mainly in relation to impact the misconduct proceedings had on herself, her family and career rather than the residents she mistreated.
After the panel found that Dy’s fitness to practice was impaired, the nurse claimed she “loves and respects” her residents and complained that she would be unable to support her ill mother in the Philippines if she was unable to work.
Patrick Jackson, homecare service manager for Edinburgh Council who ran Bonnington Care Home while Dy was employed there, gave evidence on her behalf.
He claimed that even in spite of the charges, he would have “no hesitation” in employing Dy again, describing her as “kind, caring, honest and trustworthy”. But the panel rejected a plea to make a conditions of practice order and imposed the 12-month suspension.