Shocking hidden-camera footage sparks investigation of long-term Ontario care home

Camille Parent looks at a photograph of his mother Hellen MacDonald on Friday, May 17, 2013 at his business on Lansdowne St. W. in Peterborough.

Credits: Clifford Skarstedt/Peterborough Examiner/QMI AGENCY


PETERBOROUGH, Ont. — Police and the province are investigating after footage aired that appears to show an elderly woman being repeatedly mistreated and humiliated at a long-term care home in Peterborough.

“I reviewed the video today and I am frankly appalled by it,” said Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal.

Camille Parent has thousands of video clips, all of them featuring his 85-year-old mother, who suffers from Alzhiemer's, in her room at St. Joseph’s at Fleming.

Parent said he hid a camera in her room to record and confirm his long-time suspicions that his mother was being mistreated by other patients at the long-term care facility.

Parent saw a little of that. A video broadcast on CHEX-TV in Peterborough on Thursday night shows patients at the facility walking in and out of his mother’s room, even helping themselves to her things.

But Parent wasn’t prepared for what else was on the tape.

There was a nurse who shoved feces-filled rags in his mother’s face while she cleaned her.

That same nurse is later seen violently washing his mother and changer her diaper, pushing her hands away when she raises them in protest.

An employee blew his nose on his mother’s fresh sheets before making the bed with them.

Two employees exchanged affections while his mother lay awake nearby.

“I can’t tell you how I felt when I put the tape in and saw the video,” Parent said.

Then there’s the stuff that didn’t make the broadcast.

Parent said he saw clips showing his mother standing naked near an open doorway while staff changed her diaper.

No sense of privacy, he said, no dignity. Anyone could walk by at any time and see this very personal procedure taking place.

Parent first sounded the alarm on the state of local long-term care facilities after his mother was assaulted by another resident at St. Joseph’s, which left her with severe bruising on her face and a broken hip.

City police announced Thursday the have launched an investigation into the events seen on the video, along with the province.

“We have a zero tolerance for abuse in our long-term care homes,” Health Minister Matthews said in a statement. “Our loved ones are entitled to nothing less than the best care.”

Alan Cavell, CEO at St. Joseph's at Fleming, did not respond to a request for an interview.

The employees in the video have been suspended.

-- With files from Rob McCormick

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