The owner of the now shut-down Rostrevor Nursing Home in Dublin has denied that the decades worth of complaints of elder abuse are true and blames the attention being shown to her and her business on her socialite lifestyle and three pretty daughters.
Complaints with relation to the elderly in the home date back to the 1980s and include allegations of sexual abuse. Therese Lipsett, the former owner of the home, said that Rostrevor was “like the Four Seasons”.
Lipsett is convinced that their families story is getting so much attention because of her pretty daughters.
She said “Is it just because there are three pretty daughters in the family, who make for a good photograph? Is that why there is such interest in the nursing home?
‘There is another nursing home were the patient was let out and walked to the top of Bray Head and perished in the cold. I mean her daughters weren’t shown on television. What about the Kiltipper nursing home that let a woman choke? Where is that story? What’s the obsession with the Lipsetts?’
Last week the home was shut-down by the Nursing Board after a long investigation. Lipsett has also been struck off following alleged sexual abuse in her home in 2005. An investigation found that nurse Stuart Cummings would come to work drunk and sexually abuse an elderly female resident.
Speaking to the Irish Mail on Sunday she declined to condone Cummings actions. She said “The important thing to remember here is when they went to look for him and bring him to the fitness to practice hearing he never showed up and never contested it. So it’s wide open to him to contest that he never did such things and this is all slander.
“He’s fully entitled to do that. I mean he can appeal it any time, he didn’t turn up to the fitness to practise. He didn’t defend himself – he didn’t even send a solicitor. I’m not going to be judge and jury, how can I?
“The patient is still alive and denies all this ever happened…The patient denies that this ever, ever, ever happened.”
Despite the findings over Cummings Lipsett was still allowed to practice.
Lipsett denies claims that she helped Cummings get another job. She said “This is another twisting of words. As employers we have to... It’s not a reference these days, it’s written in a format “did you employ this man, blah, blah blah?”, “would you re-employ this man?”, that type of thing. All that was answered, but the question on the reference “would you re-employ this man?”, the answer was “no”. And “would you recommend this man?”, the answer was “no”. It was not a reference.’
Following this incident she transferred control of the Home to her daughters Sarah and Avila.
Three members of staff were the subjects of additional allegations stemming back to 2008. The allegations claimed that Shivsagur ‘Kevin’ Poorun threw an elderly patient against a door jamb, injuring his head. They said Poorun had insisted that he was the only nurse allowed to bring a certain elderly female resident to the bathroom. Screams would be heard when he did.
Lipsett said ‘We all loved Kevin, he was the most fantastic worker in the nursing home. You can’t have eyes in the back of your head, you don’t know what’s going on anywhere unless you’re right there to witness it.
“And if the so-called whistleblowers knew about it, why didn’t they take it to the authorities? Tell the staff nurse, tell the nurse manager? That’s the line of authority and there is a complaints procedure written before everyone’s eyes and they are well aware of it. So it’s very hard to take the allegations seriously.”
She continued “First of all we find it hard to believe that it wasn’t reported. Because anyone who witnesses any form of abuse, any form of incorrect behavior in this nursing home... There is a zero tolerance for bad manners, there is zero tolerance for anything except best practices, that’s the best way of putting it.
‘And the staff know that, and if they saw anything that would upset a patient or would be against company policy they should go to the direct line of authority.’