Nova Scotia

Quest rehab facility assault complaint being reviewed by RCMP

RCMP are investigating a complaint made against Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Lower Sackville by the family of a client alleging staff assaulted her during a harmless interaction with another client.

Celese Boudreau says Quest staff and a security guard caused her bruising on arms and legs

Celese Boudreau alleges she was improperly restrained by a security guard and male staff at Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Lower Sackville. (Submitted by Adam Boudreau)

RCMP are investigating a complaint made against Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Lower Sackville by the family of a client alleging staff assaulted her during a harmless interaction with another client. 

Celese Boudreau, who is 22 years old and has scoliosis, attention deficit disorder and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, says she was horseplaying at the facility on Nov. 4 when staff intervened.

"We usually are like that towards each other, me and this other client," Boudreau said in a interview. "We were just having fun. We were picking on each other, more like it."

She says she was restrained by one security guard and two other male staff. Four female staff were also present, she says. She now has bruising on both arms and her right leg. 

"Most of the bruising was caused by people grabbing or people punching," says Adam Boudreau, Celese Boudreau's father. 

Both allege the security guard escorted her to a room used for therapeutic quiet time. But in doing so, they say her right arm and leg were pinned between the door and its frame, with staff pushing up against the door.

Celese Boudreau and her father have filed a complaint with RCMP against the Quest facility alleging staff caused bruises on her arms and legs. (Submitted by Adam Boudreau)

She says she was locked in the room for a half hour, even though there is a time limit of 15 minutes. 

The incident put his daughter at serious risk, Adam Boudreau says, because she has a rod implanted in her back to reduce the curvature of her spine caused by scoliosis. 

"That could have been broken during this confrontation. If it's broken, it can cut your organs inside," he said.

He says he was told by Quest staff that he wasn't allowed to see the video of the incident because of client confidentiality. 

"She fears for her health and safety," he says. "I fear for her health and safety. It's a very unstable spot."

New avenues

Boudreau says they went to police. An RCMP officer was dispatched and they were to meet him at the Quest facility. 

The officer arrived before them and with Celese Boundreau on speakerphone, he questioned Quest staff. They say his conclusions led police to believe the complaint was unfounded.

But on Tuesday, RCMP reopened their investigation, citing "quality assurance."

"Our investigative files like this are often reviewed," said Const. Mark Skinner. 

"When a question was raised yesterday about this file, a review was conducted. Simply noted, there was some additional investigative avenues our investigators wanted to explore." 

No other details were provided. 

Adam Boudreau says he's written to the Department of Health and Wellness explaining the situation. 

"If we have to get a lawyer to try to view the video, we will. We don't have one as of yet," he said. 

Phyllis Williams, Quest's acting executive director, wrote in an email to CBC News that for now the organization won't provide information on the incident. 

"There was a complaint filed with the RCMP regarding an incident on 4 November 2015," she wrote. "This incident was also reported to Protection of Persons in Care. The incident is under review by both agencies. Quest will make a comment once the reviews are completed."

Similar past incidents

The Boudreaus's video-footage problem is not the first time a family has had difficulty accessing surveillance video at Quest.

Brenda Hardiman — who's now chair of Advocating Parents Nova Scotia —  says she tried to view Quest security video after her daughter called her and complained of being treated badly by staff when she was a resident. 

"I called my lawyer and my lawyer advised me to contact Quest that evening and let them know she was requesting that the integrity of the security system be maintained and that I would be there first thing the next morning," Hardiman says.

She showed up and waited for two hours while the video was reviewed. 

"There was three or four staff members around a computer looking for the footage, I thought," she says. "And after that period of time they came out [and said] that the film had been re-recorded over from the night before.

"I couldn't view anything that happened. So we'll never really know what happened."

She's since worked with two families involving complaints at Quest, but not with the Boudreaus. 

"We just became aware of the situation and we will be monitoring it and perhaps reach out to the family," she said.