Nova Scotia

Police probe serious assault at Quest care facility

Police have launched an investigation into an assault at a care home in Lower Sackville after a 56-year-old man was seriously injured earlier this week.

56-year-old man left with life-threatening injuries following incident at Lower Sackville facility

Barb Gillis' son was injured in an assault at Quest in February. (CBC)

A 56-year-old man was in hospital with life-threatening injuries Friday night after an assault at a special care home in Lower Sackville.

A police major crime unit was called in to investigate an alleged assault at a Lower Sackville care facility that left a 56-year-old man fighting for his life.

RCMP said the alleged assault involving a 28-year-old and the 56-year-old happened on Sunday, but the file wasn't referred to police until Thursday.

The Halifax Regional Police and RCMP Major Crime Unit is investigating what happened.

Nova Scotia Department of Community Services said the incident happened at the Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre. They are also investigating the matter.

Parents of two residents at Quest are now calling for the government to make immediate change.

"These are the things we find out about. What goes on that we don't hear?" said Barb Gillis. She said she is disturbed but not surprised by the weekend incident at Quest.

Her son Paul, who is autistic, is also a resident. He was injured there in an assault in February.

Another woman, Leslie Lowther, said her son Richard was attacked while on an outing from Quest, leaving him injured.

"My son, just recently, was in a van. He was attacked from behind and choked," she said.

Both Lowther and Gillis question why, in this most recent case,  there was a four-day lapse between when the assault took place and when it was reported to police.

There have been other incidents at Quest as well. In 2010  a resident broke into the medicine room, drank litres of drugs and subsequently died.

Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre. (CBC)

As a result, the province instituted new regulations requiring the medicine rooms in all homes for special care to have double locks.

Lowther said her son, who is brain-injured, does not always get the one-on-one care he's supposed to have. She said she worries about staff shortages especially in a facility with residents who have high needs.

Gillis said that's part of the problem. 

"You cannot take so many different ailments into a big pot and expect any of them to be treated individually, properly, with some hope of rehabilitation," said Gillis.

The Nova Scotia Department of Community Services said it stands behind the private facility. 

They said in a statement that it understands the situation is upsetting to residents, their families and staff at Quest, but at this point it will not comment further as the case is under investigation.