Care home reassures families after ex-worker’s ‘degrading’ treatment of residents

Jacquilyn MacKenzie subjected residents to 'cruel and degrading' treatment at Newcarron Court nursing home, formerly operated by Bupa and now managed by Advinia
Jacquilyn MacKenzie subjected residents to 'cruel and degrading' treatment at Newcarron Court nursing home, formerly operated by Bupa and now managed by Advinia

A nursing home insists it will do all it can to make sure residents are properly cared for after an ex-manager was found guilty of neglecting and ill-treating three pensioners.

Advinia Health Care Ltd has reassured families whose loved ones are looked after by staff at Newcarron Court, in New Carron, that new measures are in place to prevent a repeat of the appalling incidents involving Jacquilyn MacKenzie, a former employee when the facility was operated by Bupa.

The Stenhousemuir woman was suspended and sacked before appearing in court after fellow members of staff blew the whistle.

Two brave nurses spoke out after MacKenzie told a 78-year-old dementia unit patient who soiled himself she would send pictures to his wife, who was battling cancer, in January 2018.

MacKenzie, an ex-army carer, also assaulted a 95-year-old woman and “wilfully neglected” a sick 102-year-old by refusing to let her go to the toilet in the night.

While the matter was handled by the care home’s previous owners, Advinia has vowed to strive to eradicate such malpractice.

Len Merton, the private care provider’s CEO, said: “We will naturally endeavour to ensure that no such incident will occur under Advinia management as we have improved the training and care quality management under new leadership.”

Following the brave actions of the whistle-blowers, Newcarron Court notified the Care Inspectorate of MacKenzie’s behaviour.

The regulatory body hopes to give families extra comfort by keeping a watchful eye over the nursing home going forward.

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A spokesman for the Care Inspectorate said: “This was a shocking case. No-one should be the victim of such appalling treatment when they experience care.

“We continue to monitor this care home to ensure residents experience the quality of care they have a right to expect. Everyone in Scotland has the right to safe, compassionate care which meets their needs and respects their rights.

“We would always encourage anyone, including staff in care services, to contact us if they have a concern about the quality of care in any care setting.

“Anyone with a concern can contact us, anonymously if necessary, on 0345 600 9527.”

Age Scotland, a charity which supports the rights and interests of the elderly, has condemned MacKenzie for what she did.

The organisation also heaped praise on the employees who alerted senior management.

Adam Stachura, Age Scotland’s head of policy and communications, said: “These are horrific crimes which will no doubt have long-lasting trauma on those who were subjected to it.

“The physical and psycological abuse that this carer has undertaken was rightly described as ‘degrading and cruel’ by the prosecution. When a residential home is entrusted with the care of a loved one the least people should expect is dignity, respect and a good quality of life for them.

“The care staff who blew the whistle are to be commended for their courageous efforts.”

Mr Stachura urged care home workers who are corncerned about workplace practices to contact whistle-blowing charity Protect on 020 3117 2520.

He added: “The Scottish Parliament is currently exploring if elder abuse should become a major criminal offence. Too many older people in Scotland are subject to coercive, controlling and abusive acts from family members, friends and care staff.

“We must do more to protect and support older people, deter future acts and give the authorities enhanced legal tools to prosecute.”