Edinburgh carer locked resident's personal alarm in treatment room and was caught sleeping and watching Netflix on duty

An Edinburgh carer has been officially warned and asked to show insight on the impact of her actions which included removing a call pendant from a resident, locking it away in a treatment room and then asking a colleague not to say anything about the incident.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 4:55 am

Dora Somuah was also found by a Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) fitness to practice panel to have been sleeping, video calling her partner and watching Netflix on her phone or iPad while on night shift duty at another nursing home she worked at.

A SSSC decision notice, published online, described Ms Somuah’s behaviour as “moderately serious” and decided that her fitness to practise was impaired, and imposed a warning on her registration for a year as well as certain conditions.

One of these conditions is that, within three months of them coming into effect, she must submit a reflective account on the impact of removing the buzzer - used to call for staff assistance - from the vulnerable resident, referred to as AA, and the potential for emotional or physical harm which might have resulted.

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Ms Somuah removed a call pendant from the resident’s neck and locked it in a treatment room at Blenham House Nursing Home, Sighthill, in October 2019. Pic: Google

A report published on the SSSC website this week said Ms Somuah had not shown any insight on her actions to date and continues to deny the allegations.

The report said: “The panel, in all the circumstances, find that your fitness to practise was impaired by reason of misconduct, in relation to the allegations found proved, and that your fitness to practise is currently impaired.

“The panel could not be satisfied that you had shown sufficient insight into the conduct and, in particular, you had not shown sufficient reflection on the conduct from AA’s perspective and the impact of the conduct on AA or indeed on colleagues.”

The report said Ms Somuah had removed a call pendant from the resident’s neck and locked it in a treatment room at Blenham House Nursing Home, Sighthill, in October 2019.

A colleague working with her that night gave evidence that he responded to the resident’s buzzer before this because she had lost her glasses, and then again 45 minutes later when she informed him she would soon be ready for bed.

When he returned seven minutes later, he said the resident was upset and crying because her personal alarm had been taken away. He said he spoke to Ms Somuah who told him it was in the treatment room.

The witness said he spoke to Ms Somuah on the phone after the incident and that she told him not to tell anyone about it.

Two other former colleagues - a carer and nurse - told the panel that on a night shift at Pine Villa Nursing Home, Loanhead, in September 2017 they saw Ms Somuah sitting in chairs in the lounge under her coat with a tablet device on.

A care assistant saw her video calling her partner and watching Netflix, and said she spent “most of the night” sitting in this position and was sleeping and snoring on her shift and that she had to wake her up.

And the colleague said that when Ms Somuah was asked to see a palliative care patient she did so reluctantly.

Ms Somuah denied the allegations and said she had been feeling unwell and tired that night, having been on a training course earlier that day and that she had asked for the night off but was refused. She said she had felt cold and wore her jacket to keep warm.

The panel also heard evidence from two witnesses in support of MS Somuah’s character. These included a team leader in her current job and a pastor in Edinburgh.

The report noted Ms Somuah has had a reasonably long career with no issues until the incidents in 2017 and 2019 and that this was also a mitigating factor.

However, the panel also noted that Ms Somuah had failed to comply with previous conditions imposed by a temporary order for her to ensure performance reports from her current employer were sent to the SSSC.

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