Carer who slapped 90-year-old man is spared jail
A CARE worker who slapped an elderly dementia patient has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Nicola Hoole hit the 90-year-old resident at Pine Meadows Care Home, in Leek, after he lashed out at her as she gave him a bath.
The 45-year-old told colleagues she had slapped him to calm him down, but when police became involved she changed her story, saying she had 'caught him accidentally'.
She was convicted of assault by North Staffordshire Magistrates following a trial, and was yesterday told the offence was so serious she must receive a custodial sentence.
Purchase this property and receive £250 towards legal fees !! New on the market with no vendor chain !
Terms: Subject to offer and terms and conditions, contact the office for further information.
Contact: 01782 940925
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
During Hoole's trial last month, the court heard she and colleague Katarzyna Bukovska had taken the resident for a bath on April 27 last year.
Staff knew he was prone to aggressive behaviour when workers attended to his personal care.
Miss Bukovska recalled how the patient had punched Hoole, prompting her to slap him on the back of the neck and say 'Stop it'.
Another member of staff, Alison Tomkins, and her manager, staff nurse Adele Donohue, told the court that Hoole had told them she had slapped the resident to calm him down.
She was suspended from work and police were called in. She was charged with assault despite claiming any contact was accidental.
Kate Rogers, mitigating, said: "Miss Hoole maintains this was an accident. She has worked in the care system for 10 years in three different establishments and has never had any reports of causing harm to residents.
"She is suffering from shame in being connected with an assault on a vulnerable individual and said she would never intentionally hurt an old man with dementia."
Magistrates handed Hoole, of Springfield Court, Leek, a three-month sentence, suspended for 12 months.
She must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work, and pay £600 court costs and £100 compensation.
David Tomlinson, chairman of the bench, said: "Vulnerable persons must be protected. The aggravating factors are so serious that it crosses the custody threshold."
A spokesman for Four Seasons Health Care, which owns Pine Meadows, said Hoole had been sacked.
She said: "Staff at the home and in our wider organisation have been distressed by this case and feel let down that a colleague could behave in this way to an elderly resident entrusted into their care.
"When our staff raised concerns in line with our whistle-blowing procedures, the manager promptly suspended Nicola Hoole and notified the resident's family, local authority safeguarding team and police.
"It is our policy that any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour is notified to the authorities so that it can be properly investigated.
"The home co-operated fully with the investigation and provided evidence leading to the conviction of Ms Hoole."