A nurse convicted of abusing vulnerable dementia patients in her care has escaped a prison sentence.
Beverley Thompson, 47, was today handed a community sentence comprising 200 hours of unpaid work and a year’s supervision by social workers.
Thompson – who lost her job and faces being struck off the nursing register as a result of the court case – had denied five counts of ill-treating or wilfully neglecting elderly residents in the Livingston Care Home, West Lothian.
She was convicted of committing four of the offences while she worked at the home in September and October last year after three care assistants gave “credible and compelling” evidence against her.
Three nursing assistants told the court they were “shocked” and “distressed” as they witnessed the way Thompson abused residents they were looking after.
Passing sentence on Thompson at Livingston Sheriff Court today, Sheriff Martin Edington told her he appreciated that dealing with patients with dementia could be hard work.
But he said the patients with the debilitating disease, such as those she had assaulted, were “among the most vulnerable people in the community” and were in her care at the time.
Thompson’s trial was told that she lifted one patient and forcibly pushed her from behind as she walked along a corridor as a result of which she lost her balance and almost fell.
She also placed her leg against the stomach of another resident as the woman shouted “You’re hurting my belly!” and forcibly pinned her to a chair.
She left another member of staff “gobsmacked” when she dragged another patient by the wrists and forcibly placed her in a chair.
She turned to the care assistants and told them: “You saw that. I never used any violence whatsoever.”
She was further convicted of barricading a door to prevent one patient from leaving a room, forcibly pushing her down onto a bed and trapping her there by wrapping the bedclothes tightly around her body.
She turned to a colleague and remarked: “That’s the way you settle (the patient)!”
She was acquitted of pinching another resident by the nose and pulling her head back so she could pour medication down her throat after the sheriff ruled there was insufficient corroboration to convict her.
Thompson, of Limefield Crescent, Bathgate, strongly disputed all the allegations and stated in her defence: “It just didn’t happen.”
Finding her guilty the sheriff described her evidence as “strident” and “evasive”.
Thompson qualified as a State Registered Nurse six years ago and worked at the dementia unit for three years.
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