Nova Scotia

Quest care home is safe, external review says

A Nova Scotia care home that has faced concerns over safety is a "well performing organization" that has taken all reasonable steps to deal with security, an external review says.

Lower Sackville facility has faced concerns over violence, including 2014 death

Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre is safe, an external review says. (CBC)

A Nova Scotia care home that has faced concerns over safety is a "well-performing organization" that has taken all reasonable steps to deal with security, an external review released today says.

Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard announced in July last year that Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Lower Sackville would be looked at after the death of 56-year-old resident Gordon Longphee, who died in May of that year after being pushed by another resident.

Stylus Consulting Inc., which conducted the best-practices review, says in its report that "the board has taken all reasonable steps to address concerns regarding safety and security" at the facility, which serves Nova Scotians with psychological and behavioural challenges.

Quest hired Paladin Security after Longphee's death and they made a series of recommendations. The Quest centre's board responded to each of them, the report says.

The report speaks positively about the centre in other regards, as well.

"Through a review of documents, discussions with board, staff, clients and family members the consultant found that Quest RRC has put a plan in place to correct gaps in security, undertaken an overhaul of its governance model and bylaws and is focusing on board renewal," it says, adding that its staff is highly committed.

Parent disputes positive review

Parents of two young people who have resided at Quest said Friday they hadn't an opportunity to read the review, but one woman disputed the glowing report.

Barb Gillis's son, Paul, 25, has lived at Quest for most of the last six years. He was injured at the facility in February 2014, suffering a bruise to his head.

"I have not seen positive improvements there. The staff are not trained to help people with autism like my son," she said. 

Gillis also claims her son is over-medicated to keep him quiet, which makes it difficult for her to take him outside and has resulted in his morbid obesity.

Her other concern, she said, is the harm she believes was done to him while he was under the care of Anthony Gough, who is now serving five years in prison for raping a 17-year-old girl with an intellectual disability when he was working for another organization.

"I believe he needs treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder," she said, adding her request has not been met.

Quest has said it had no concerns about Gough when he was employed, part-time, at the facility. It says the home cooperated fully with the RCMP investigation.

Facility should be 'rebranded'

The report made a series of recommendations. They include:

  • The Department of Community Services should tell stakeholders it's confident that the Quest centre is safe.
  • The Quest facility on Memory Lane should be rebranded as a rehabilitation facility, not a home, and Community Services should invest in a developmental care model for people whose goal is not rehabilitation, so the centre can focus on rehab.
  • Community Services should invest in "smaller community-based arrangements" so that people who are ready for community living can make that transition.
  • The organization should fill its board vacancies. 
  • More training for clinicians and front-line workers.
  • A five- to 10-year strategic plan.
  • Community Services should enter into a formal service agreement with Quest centre, detailing performance expectations and program outcomes.

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