Care assistants suspended after Facebook photos

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SOCIAL Services are investigating after photographs of care staff appearing to mimic dementia patients at an Eastbourne care home were posted on the Facebook social networking site.

Horrified management at the Little Acorns in Silverdale Road, where the photos were taken, immediately suspended the care assistants involved and contacted the local authority.

Owner Michelle Levett said, “The episode is the unfortunate result of a role playing incident, which has been taken out of context. At no time was any malice intended.

“All staff involved have been suitably dealt with and all relevant procedures have been actioned.

“Relatives of the residents of Little Acorns have been contacted in respect of the incident and have stated that they are satisfied and happy with the care and support given to their loved ones by the staff and management at Little Acorns.”

The photographs were taken in a room at the care home, which looks after patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s, and show staff members Becky Cooper and Natalie Hemsley in glasses pulling faces and with zimmer frames.

A second photograph shows one of the girls wearing an incontinence pad and a female patient can clearly be seen in the background.

The pictures were posted on Facebook and attracted some comments before they were removed.

They were then sent to the Eastbourne Herald, Sussex Police, Social Services and the Care Quality Commission.

When the home discovered the pictures had been taken and posted on social media, care assistants involved were dealt with and two of them suspended pending further investigations.

A spokesperson at East Sussex County Council social services said, “All residents of care homes should be treated with dignity and respect.

“We work closely with our partners in Sussex and we have run campaigns urging people to bring safeguarding and abuse issues to our attention.

“In this case the Care Home has contacted us directly and through the multi-agency safeguarding procedures we will investigate.”

A spokesperson at Sussex Police said, “We have looked into them and there is no evidence of any criminal offences.

“We have therefore forwarded them to East Sussex County Council Social Services for their attention.”

In the latest Care Quality Commission inspection report at the home, the care home was said to be providing a good service and the inspector found no outstanding requirements from the previous inspection report.

The family of one resident at Little Acorns said they fully supported the home and had nothing but praise for the management and staff.

The wife of a patient at the home said, “Little Acorns is fantastic and is very well run with very caring staff.

“The way it is run and the superb way my husband is cared for has been very reassuring for us as a family.

“He was in a couple of other homes in Eastbourne but Little Acorns is by far the best.”