Quest resident Gordon Longphee dies from injuries

A 56-year-old man injured last week when he was pushed by another resident at special care home in Lower Sackville has died.

Lower Sackville care facility defends its practices and delay in notifying police

Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre. (CBC)

A 56-year-old man injured last week when he was pushed by another resident at special care home in Lower Sackville has died.

A police major crime unit is investigating the death of Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre resident Gordon Longphee, the fourth homicide of the year in the Halifax area. 

On Tuesday Quest chairman Ron Cooper said incidents such as this one are unfortunate, but cannot always be prevented. 

"Things like this happen from time to time at these facilities," he said. 

Longphee was hurt on May 11 and taken to hospital, but police were not called until four days later. Cooper said police were only notified after the victim's condition deteriorated.

"We initially were anticipating there would be a hospital visit and a return to the facility," he said.

RCMP said Longphee died in hospital on Saturday.

His death has sparked sadness and concern. Brenda Hardiman's daughter is a resident of Quest and has been the victim of resident-on-resident violence. 

"We all fear for a call like the family's received," Hardiman said. "These people are in care for a reason and they need to be monitored."

Gordie Longphee's funeral will be Friday in his hometown of New Waterford. (Submitted)

Jean Coleman, with the Nova Scotia Association for Community Living, said the death never should have happened. She said institutions need to be replaced with community living.

"When people are congregated, that's what happens," she said. "Harm happens, whether it's to individuals who are living there or to staff."

Longphee was born in New Waterford, according to his obituary.

"Gordie loved listening to music. His favourite hymns were Danny Boy and Out on the Mira. Gordie enjoyed going for drives, having stories read to him and eating his favourite snack, cheezees," his obituary said.

He has two surviving sisters but is predeceased by his father, his mother, and five other siblings. 

Laura Arthurs, chief executive of Quest, said they stayed in close contact with Longphee while he was in hospital. 

"We work very hard at many levels of safety and intervention in the facility. We provide a very high level of service," she said.

"We cannot control every variable that happens on a daily basis, but we try to be one step ahead of those variables."

RCMP have said a 28-year-old resident was involved in the assault. Cooper said that person is not staying at Quest at this time. He would not say where he's gone or who initiated the move. 

Cooper said there was a ratio of one staff member for every three patients at the time of the incident .

Arthurs could not estimate how many assaults have taken place at the facility. She said almost all clients require the highest level of care and most have some behavioural issues that make it difficult for them to live in the community. 

"The definition of assault is very different depending on the client themselves and their capability to understand the world around them," she said.

Nova Scotia Department of Community Services said the death is also being investigated by their staff.

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.

Longphee's funeral will be Friday in New Waterford.