Family raises concerns about Lethbridge assisted living home

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Family raises concerns about Lethbridge assisted living home
WATCH: One family is making accusations about what they say is a lack of care and security provided at a Lethbridge senior supportive living home. This comes after they say their mother was attacked by another patient. Sarah Jones has the details. WARNING: Disturbing images – Apr 22, 2024

It’s a shocking video for Susie Koennecke and Lynn Doratty to see their 79-year-old mother repeatedly struck in her room by another resident in Buffalo Grace Manor, a senior assisted living home in Lethbridge, Alta.

Gil Hamel moved into the dementia ward at Buffalo Grace Mannor in January of 2023, and in that span her daughters say they have raised their concerns to management of the facility multiple times.

“This home has neglected our concerns for many months,” said Doratty. “This is why we put a camera in my mom’s room, it was approved by the home.”

Koennecke said, “She wasn’t being toileted, you know they’re not checking at nighttime, she was left dirty for far longer than what she should. My mom has several times not been tucked in at night, laid on top of her blankets and that’s how she stays all night, nobody comes into her room to check on her, cover her up, there’s been times where she’s slept on her bed with no sheets.”

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The family pays $2,300 a month for full time care.

The final straw came for the sisters after two fights were recorded in their mother’s room just a week apart with another dementia resident.

The first incident was recorded on the family’s Ring camera on April 11, 2024, when a neighbouring resident entered Gil’s room, and she began hitting him. They fell into the hallway and staff were able to break them apart.

However, it didn’t stop there.

“He was still in her room several times a day,” said Koennecke. “They’ve actually put a little bell on top of her door that doesn’t ring, you’re supposed to hit it when you walk by with your head or the door hits it, but there’s no way that they can hear it.”

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For a second time on April 18, 2024, the family shared video of the same gentleman entering the room, sitting on Gil’s bed before getting up to punch and kick her.

Koennecke and Doratty say staff weren’t aware of the incident until the family called the Lethbridge Police Service and an officer attended the home.

LPS confirmed with Global News that a report was made, but as no charges were laid, no further information could be provided.

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The family of the other resident has since reached out to Gil’s daughters to apologize, but Koennecke and Doratty say they don’t blame him, but the lack of accountability from the management team.

“There’s just not enough care aids to care for the level of care that these residents need,” said Doratty.

Koennecke explained, “It’s not their fault, we don’t blame the care aids at all. Every time I’m here, I spend all day with my mom, these people work their butts off, and they get nothing credited to them, except for getting the blame.”

Doratty added, “It’s not lack of care, but they don’t have time. They have too many people they have to check on; how could they possibly check everybody with two people on the floor, sometimes only one?”

A former care aid whom Global News has agreed not to identify says she worked at the facility for just a few months in 2023 and left due what she describes as a lack of staff and poor management.

“Staffing was a really big issue, and they just really didn’t seem to be interested in caring for somebody that is in need,” said the former staff member. “The people that I worked with were just not interested, they were there for a paycheque.”

“It was awful, it was horrifying, it broke my heart to see these people; to me that’s neglect. I just couldn’t keep working there because I couldn’t do my job properly.”

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She went on to allege that staff were also required to pay for their own supplies.

“There’s no supplies, no gloves. I was told that there would be everything in their rooms but there wasn’t and when I went to look for some, there just wasn’t any around.”

Covenant Care, who operates Buffalo Grace Manor says they’ve been made aware of the video and are looking into it, saying in part.

“We have taken swift action to launch an internal investigation to review our current safety protocols. As part of our investigation, we will review the incident to determine what occurred and how we can prevent similar situations from happening in the future.

“The safety and well-being of our residents is our top priority, and we strive to learn and improve from any incidents that occur at our facilities.”

Lynn and Susie say that regardless of the statement, they’ll be moving their mother into a different facility in the coming weeks.

“We will be moving my mom, there’s just no questions about that, but we hold the home totally responsible for these issues. They did not even reach out to us,” added Doratty.

Koennecke said, “We’re not going to drop this, because we can move her and leave and just forget about this. But, we care enough about all the other residents, that we want to make sure that they’re [Buffalo Grace Manor] doing things correctly, and right, and safe, and these people [residents] matter, all of them.”

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