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Carers 'trussed' up elderly woman

Two nursing home carers trussed up an elderly woman like a mummy to ensure they got a quiet night shift.

Blackpool Magistrates Court heard how married couple, Cosmin and Ana Focsa, who were members of a four-person night shift, and tightly bound the woman, 88, in a large bath towel leaving her unable to move in her bed.

The Romanian couple, who worked at the Alistre Lodge Nursing Home, St Annes, Lancs, were found guilty of ill-treating and wilfully neglecting the resident while she was in their care.

Prosecutor, Malcolm Isherwood, told the court that Cosmin and Ana Focsa. had worked at the home for two months

He said: “At 1am registered nurse, Keiron Drane, and care assistant, Darren Hughes, checked on the resident who had gone to bed at 8 pm. The patient was under a duvet and sheet. They found all the bed wet through from sweat as was her clothing and pillow.

“When they drew the duvet back, they found that she had been tightly wrapped in a bath towel from her armpits to her feet. The towel was fitted so that she was lying on its ends.”

Nurse Drane asked Cosim Focsa who had done this and he said he and his wife had done it as he had seen wrapping up patients in other homes.

Malcom Isherwood added: ”She was wrapped tightly to restrict her movement and this was done to make the Focsa’s job easier. It was a callous, cruel and selfish act.”

Keiron Drane said he had to take immediate measures to cool the resident down and give her fluids as the patient had a skin problem that meant she should not get too hot.

He added that it must have taken two people to truss her up in such a manner and said: “What happened to this lady was abuse and unacceptable and I reported it.”

Cosmin and Ana Focsa both denied the charge. They said that other staff were jealous of them because they were allowed to work together on shifts. They both claimed they felt discriminated against because they were Romanian migrants and they were given no time to challenge their dismissal from Alistre Lodge.

District Judge Jeff Brailsford sentenced both Cosmin and Ana Focsa to 16 weeks jail, suspended for a year and 200 hours unpaid community work. They must also each pay £300 costs and £200 compensation to their victim.

He told the two from Exchange Street, Blackpool: “Caring was the very last thing you did for that lady that night. What you did  was to ill treat and neglect this elderly lady. It was deliberate  and wholly inappropriate.

“For your own purposes you bound her to restrain her for a considerable length of time. It may well have been fortunate that other staff checked on her in her room when they did.”

After the hearing, manager of the home, Lorraine Holt, said: ”This showed us to be a strong care home prepared to bring in the police and help prosecute two members of staff.

“They were both sacked immediately we found out what had happened. We acted robustly and justice has prevailed. The lady still lives at the home and we have had full support from her family, our governing body and the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Our staff work incredibly hard and are encouraged to speak out.”