British Columbia

B.C. nurse loses her job after assuming power of attorney and taking elderly woman's coin collection

B.C.'s College of Registered Nurses has cancelled the registration of a care home director who gained power of attorney over an 86-year-old patient and took the woman's coin collection.

Jacqueline Orina claims she's a victim, but regulator says treatment of 86-year-old unacceptable

The B.C. College of Registered Nurses claims Jacqueline Orina breached her professional ethics in relation to an 86-year-old patient. (Shutterstock)

B.C.'s College of Registered Nurses has cancelled the registration of a Vancouver care home director who gained power of attorney over an 86-year-old patient and took the woman's coin collection.

According to a consent agreement reached in March, Jacqueline Orina also manoeuvred to have the woman admitted into care despite knowing she "did not want to go to the facility."

The college claims Orina completed a referral form containing information she knew to be untrue — including a claim the woman had dementia.

After the care home launched an investigation, she allegedly tried to secretly return the coins.

"Ms. Orina did some very unethical things and the college took her behaviour and the breach of ethics that she characterized very seriously," said college registrar and CEO Cynthia Johansen.

"We've now barred her from working as a nurse in our province."

'It's me who is the victim here'

The Royal Ascot Care Centre terminated Orina's employment in April 2014. Reached by telephone, Orina said she didn't want to comment.

"I just want to move on. I need to start anew here," she said.

"It's me who is the victim here."

According to the consent agreement, Orina's position as director of care was "one that involves a high level of trust and responsibility, as it involves the care of a largely elderly and vulnerable group of people."

Jacqueline Orina was director of care at Royal Ascot Care Centre before her employment was terminated in 2014. (Vancouver Coast Health)

Orina allegedly met the woman — called F in the documents — when her sister became a long-term care resident.

F had no other immediate family in the area but was "healthy and living independently in an apartment."

Orina allegedly began to encourage F to move into Royal Ascot, driving her to medical appointments and to church. Then, in January 2014, the college says Orina arranged to have F admitted as a private-pay patient.

"Ms Orina knew that a 'private-pay' stay at the facility was an expenditure that F., as a senior living on a fixed income, could not comfortably afford," the order says.

The nurse allegedly filled out health authority referral forms claiming F had a variety of medical conditions for which she had never been diagnosed.

"In particular, Ms. Orina knew that the purported diagnosis of 'dementia' was untrue, but wrote it anyway because she thought it would increase the likelihood of F. being approved for subsidized long-term residential care," the order says.

Coin collection's secret return

Days later, Orina allegedly recruited facility employees to clean out F's apartment without her knowledge or consent.

A few items went to the care home, some went to the dump, and Orina allegedly kept others — including the coin collection. The people who helped were paid out of F's facility trust account.

The elderly woman fell on January 12, 2014 and then again two days later. She was operated on for a broken hip.

After the operation, she was transferred to a different private care facility specially devoted to people recovering from orthopaedic surgery. Orina continued to visit her, allegedly charging her visits to F's trust account, which had remained open despite the fact F was no longer one of her residents.

According to the consent agreement, Orina then "induced and influenced F. to appoint her as F's attorney by power of attorney."

But in the following weeks, the risk manager at Vancouver Coastal Health contacted the administrator at Royal Ascot to say F couldn't return to the facility because he had learned Orina had power of attorney — a conflict of interest.

A workplace investigation ensued, during which Orina allegedly persuaded another staff member to "secretly return the coin collection to the facility over the Easter long weekend and to conceal that this has been done."

But as the week went on, the staff member "became increasingly uncomfortable due to her and Ms. Orina's dishonesty and eventually revealed the truth."

College exists to 'ensure public safety'

Johansen said the college relies on the public for reports of suspected wrongdoing.

"The reason that the college exists is to ensure public safety," she said.

"Nurses are one of the most trusted professional groups. And so our job is to ensure that the public receives safe, competent care from safe, trustworthy nurses."

In addition to having her registration cancelled, Orina is barred from applying for reinstatement for at least five years.

An administrator at Royal Ascot did not want to comment on the case, saying from their perspective "the reason why it's at the college is we brought it to the college's attention."

She said "we did everything that we could do to protect our clients here and the rest of the public at large."

Read the consent agreement