Nfld. & Labrador

NAPE president defends long-term care workers following incident at Agnes Pratt Home

The president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees is defending long-term care workers, after an incident that saw an 81-year-old with Alzheimer's taken from a secure unit of a long-term care home in St. John's.

81-year-old woman with Alzheimer's was taken from secure unit by man once accused of defrauding her

NAPE president Jerry Earle is defending long-term care workers, after an 81-year-old woman at the Agnes Pratt Home went missing from the facility just before Christmas. (CBC)

The president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees is defending long-term care workers, after an incident that saw an 81-year-old with Alzheimer's taken from a secure unit of a long-term care home in St. John's.

"Any time there an occurrence including a patient that's in care of a health-care facility, in this case long term, it's concerning for all, including the staff itself," NAPE president Jerry Earle told CBC Radio's Crosstalk.

Ida Connors is 81 years old, and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She moved into the Agnes Pratt Home in St. John's in November. (Submitted by Tanya Connors)

Ida Connors was taken from the secure unit of the Agnes Pratt Nursing home in St. John's by a man once accused of defrauding her.

The incident happened two days before Christmas. She was returned to the facility later in the day, after withdrawing money from the bank.

Because of confidentiality, Earle said he does not know the particulars of this case.

But he said that workers take the safety of those in their care seriously.

"These workers… go to work every day with patient safety at the utmost," Earle said.

"The care of those residents that are placed in their care is their utmost priority, sometimes to their own peril." 

'Stressful work environment'

Earle could not say if workload issues contributed to the situation, but noted that resources are thin across the province.

"Usually the finger will get pointed at frontline workers, and it's a stressful work environment anyway, so this puts additional stress upon the workers unfairly," Earle said.

The Agnes Pratt Home is located in the west end of St. John's. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Earle added that the incident provides an opportunity "to go back and take a second look to ensure appropriate procedures are in place for the health and safety of residents in any health-care facility."

Eastern Health, which operates Agnes Pratt, says it is now reviewing policies and procedures.

That will include working to ensure there is a list of approved visitors on file of those who are allowed to take residents off the secure unit.

With files from CBC's Crosstalk

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