Non-profit calls on government to investigate allegations of neglect at Stephenville nursing home
The Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living is calling on the provincial government to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect of a disabled woman at a care home in Stephenville.
Allison Decker lived in a basement apartment in the city of Western Newfoundland and was looked after 24 hours a day by staff at the Bay St. George Residential Support Board.
Decker, 46, developed an intellectual disability after suffering multiple seizures that caused significant brain damage just days after birth.
Decker’s sister Minette Firth recently told CBC News that she was shocked when she arrived at her sister’s care home in July and found out there was no television or books and locked refrigerator.
Decker also told Firth that she had been locked inside the apartment for hours.
Ray McIsaac, a board member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living, a nonprofit that provides resources for people with developmental disabilities, told CBC News his organization has been helping people move away for decades. people from institutional life and to move them to the community. based support systems.
After learning of Decker’s alleged predicament, he fears that progress will set back.
“This particular case of this abused, neglected and abused young woman [by] The Residential Support Board is a sad development for our association, as the association has played a decisive role in setting up the cooperative apartment delivery system in partnership with the provincial government, ”said McIsaac.
“Over time I guess what has happened here is that this particular agency has drifted away from the core values of the association and our belief in integrity and equal rights. of all people with disabilities. ”
Funding for businesses like the Residential Support Board comes from the provincial Department of Health and Community Services. Additional funding may be provided by the Community Support Program through Western Health if clients are eligible.
Western Health told CBC News it is investigating the situation but will not comment on the individual circumstances.
Letter to the government
McIsaac said his association wrote a letter to Health Minister John Haggie and Justice Minister John Hogan in August, calling for an immediate investigation.
He said the association believes their concerns could have criminal implications for the staff and management of the Residential Support Council.
They are calling on the government to investigate procedures and policies on a larger scale to ensure that supporting boards and oversight boards are functioning properly across the province.
“Are people’s rights respected? Are people over-medicated, for example, to facilitate care due to a lack of staff? Are people coerced and locked up, punished or ridiculed as in some of the allegations in this particular case, ”McIsaac said.
“I think, obviously, for something like this to happen, there has to be a breakdown in accountability. Things didn’t happen here overnight. I think we have to consider it. there has to be some sort of audit function, some sort of accountability. “
CBC News also asked for comment from the Ministry of Children, Seniors and Social Development, which is responsible for the provincial adult protection law, but received no response.
Michelle King, executive director of the Bay St. George Residential Support Board, declined to comment.
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