Alberta elder abuse probe promised following charges, allegations

Alberta elder abuse probe promised following charges, allegations

Alberta's health minister has ordered an investigation into the allegations of abuse against an elderly man at a long-term care facility.

Calgary police charged three employees of Carewest Garrison Green facility with assault after the family of a man in his 90s came forward.The three have since been fired.

A family member of another patient at the facility came forward with abuse allegations Thursday and on Friday, the province pledged to probe into previous, confirmed cases of abuse.

Heath Minster Fred Horne says the province will has zero tolerance for assault on vulnerable victims.

"I'm very concerned and quite frankly it disgusts me," said Horne.

"When me or you, or anyone else in this province, is trying to support a loved one — making a very important decision to enter care in a facility — that they can be confident that any issues that have arisen in the past have been followed up on and those issues have been dealt with. People deserve that security and that confidence and they're going to have it."

The independent investigator will look into how complaints are monitored. Horne said he wants to make sure all recommendations are implemented

Last year there were 161 cases of confirmed abuse at care facilities, up from about 140 the year before.

Guilt and shame can prevent people from reporting elder abuse, says seniors' advocate Deb Runnals of the Kerby Centre.

"It's so hidden behind closed doors, in people's homes quite often, and we don't talk about it and if we don't talk about it our seniors certainly don't know that they can speak up," said Runnals.

"They don't know where they can call. They don't know they can pick up the phone and call the police, just to ask questions, or call the elder abuse response line and just ask questions."

Carewest released a statement urging residents and their families to report any concerns.

The three women charged in the latest case are scheduled to appear in court next month.

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