It took a hidden video camera for Susan Carter to discover the truth about how her 89-year-old mother ended up lying on the floor at an Edmonton care home earlier this month.
Staff at the Kipnes Centre for Veterans called Carter on Jan. 2 to report Eileen Adamson had fallen out of bed.
“I was told, ‘Your mom slipped out of bed, she’s confused, but she’s all right. We’ll be monitoring her,’” Carter told CBC News.
But it wasn’t until Carter reviewed the video from the camera that she learned what really happened.
It shows a male patient, who appears to be confused, walking over to the bed and peeling back Adamson’s covers. He pulls a wheelchair closer to the bed, then spends the next several minutes yanking on the woman’s arms, trying to drag her from the bed.
The events take place as a television is blaring in the background.
Adamson, who is wheelchair-bound and has to be lifted in and out of the bed, is seen gripping the handrails to prevent being pulled off.
“Mom is saying, ‘No, you’re hurting my arm. No, I don’t want to go anywhere,’” Carter said.
“And then boom, her bottom lands on the floor. Mom’s trying to hold on to the railing with her right arm … you hear mom keep saying, ‘Please, oh no, don’t.”
The man is seen dragging Adamson by the arm across the floor and off camera. The pair were spotted by staff after the man pulled her into the hallway.
Carter said she put the camera in her mother’s room because the man often wandered around the facility, bothering patients and visitors. Despite the fact that the room was supposed to be locked, Carter said her mother often complained about the man coming in and refusing to leave.
“The man is a threat,” she said. “He goes everywhere and people are afraid of him.”
Kipnes staff can be heard on the tape shooing the man away. But Carter said they didn't mention his presence when they called her. And he doesn't appear in the notes that nurses wrote on Adamson’s chart for that evening.
“There is no mention of the man being anywhere near the room, no mention at all of him being around,” Carter said.
“It’s not true. It’s inaccurate.”
She said footage shows the man wandering into her mother’s room on several other nights, though this was the first time he tried to pull her from the bed.
Staff ‘assumed’ woman fell
Capital Care, the non-profit that runs the Kipnes facility, said staff at the home reacted appropriately when they found Adamson lying in the doorway. CEO Iris Neumann said Adamson was lifted up and placed back in bed.
Staff noticed the man standing nearby, but did not note it on the chart or tell Carter about him, because they did not see him touch her mother.
“[It’s] what the staff witnessed, and they can only report what they actually witnessed,” Neumann said
She later said staff did not actually see Adamson slip out of bed, but they made the assumption when they found her on the floor.
The fall should have been marked down as being unwitnessed, according to Deb Gordon, chief health operations officer for northern Alberta. She said Alberta Health Services has started an investigation.
“We don’t know all the facts at this point in time,” Gordon said. She said AHS was working with the Kipnes to determine the appropriate action to take.
Carter dismissed the idea that staff didn’t know the man was involved, saying the aides who helped Adamson back into bed can be heard speculating that he pulled her to the floor.
She said the tape also shows staff telling Adamson repeatedly that she fell out of the bed, even after she responded with "no" when asked if that was the case.
She said the facility has offered to have a staff member supervise her mother more closely. But she said she is still worried about her mother's care.
“My trust in that facility has gone down to zero,” Carter said. “My mom is not safe, and neither is anybody in that wing.”
She said the family is considering moving Adamson to another care home, but they are unsure she would receive better care elsewhere.