An investigation into a Northern Ireland care home has found evidence of “inhuman and degrading treatment”, including sexual and physical assaults on female residents.
Dunmurry Manor Care Home has been the subject of an investigation by the Commissioner for Older People Eddie Lynch and a damning report on the findings has now been published.
Relatives of vulnerable residents have told UTV that knowing what their loved ones endured will forever haunt them.
One vulnerable person - an 88-year-old with dementia named only as Resident A - suffered a number of serious incidents that were not handled appropriately.
They included a fall that resulted in 17 staples to the head and a suspected sexual assault by another resident.
Resident A’s dentures and wedding ring also went missing.
Another resident – a 72-year-old with dementia referred to as Resident R – was found to have pressure sores “down to the bone” and an E Coli infection.
That resident was in fact Karen McVicker's mother Helen.
“I'm devastated. This will live with me until the day I die," she told UTV.
“No matter what happens, it will never take the pain that my mum suffered.”
Another resident – an 83-year-old with dementia referred to as resident C – was said to have lost between five and six stone during a five-month stay at Dunmurry Manor prior to passing away.
The family feared medical advice on suitable meals was not being followed and no assistance was given to allow the resident to eat, with food left on a tray and going untouched.
Runwood Homes Group, which operates 11 care homes across Northern Ireland – including Dunmurry Manor – has apologised, and Managing Director Logan Logeswaran resigned on Tuesday.
CEO Gordon Sanders said: “The Board of Directors acknowledge and take full responsibility for these failures and the lack of oversight that could have ensured they did not happen.
“In August 2017, I put a new Northern Ireland senior management team in place and we have worked hard to put things right at Dunmurry Manor, as well as taking strenuous steps to ensure such a situation can never arise at any other Group home.
“Residents and their families can be assured that corrective action has been taken.”
The probe was sparked by a number of complaints from the families of residents and from former staff at the facility, which is home to more than 70 people.
The Commissioner for Older People said: “This is the first time my office has used its statutory powers of investigation to examine an issue and it was a decision I considered very serious.
“Regrettably, this report outlines a disturbing picture where there were many significant failures in safeguarding, care and treatment which led to many of the residents not receiving adequate protection for prolonged periods of time.”
A total of 59 recommendations have been made to improve care and bring about significant change.