No charges laid against staff after privacy breaches involving long-term care residents

Rick Barker, 64, is pictured with his grandson. Central Health has told Barker's family that an inappropriate photo of Barker was taken by someone on staff at the Baie Verte Peninsula Health Centre. (Submitted by Bernice Barker - image credit)
Rick Barker, 64, is pictured with his grandson. Central Health has told Barker's family that an inappropriate photo of Barker was taken by someone on staff at the Baie Verte Peninsula Health Centre. (Submitted by Bernice Barker - image credit)
Submitted by Bernice Barker
Submitted by Bernice Barker

No charges will be laid in connection with privacy breaches of long-term care residents in Baie Verte, says the RCMP after concluding its investigation of the incidents.

Central Health notified seven families in September about breaches of privacy, including inappropriate photos taken by staff of long-term care residents.

The health authority said at the time that some staff were disciplined and at least one person has lost their job.

Families had said they hoped the police investigation would yield new information and hold the people responsible accountable for their actions.

But according to RCMP media relations officer Cpl. Jolene Garland, "the investigation determined a criminal offence had not occurred."

Bernice Barker's husband, Rick Barker, is a resident of long-term care who had an inappropriate photo taken of him.

She said she's disappointed by the outcome of the police investigation and feels it shows that changes are needed.

"The Criminal Code, as far as I'm concerned, needs to be changed because, between the health-care system and our justice system, I just feel like, people like my husband have no voice and they have no chance of getting justice," said Barker.

Ted Dillon/CBC
Ted Dillon/CBC

Incidents involved 7 residents

Central Health has previously told CBC that a total of seven families were contacted by the health authority in relation to residents of the long-term care facility in Baie Verte.

But Central Health has said very little about the nature of the privacy breaches or how many staff were involved.

Three families told CBC about receiving phone calls from Central Health notifying them of breaches of privacy, including two families who were told that inappropriate photos of their loved ones had been taken by staff.

The College of Licensed Practical Nurses told CBC that two LPNs are under investigation for allegations that appear to be related to the privacy breaches.

Submitted by Bernice Barker
Submitted by Bernice Barker

Civil suit

Barker said she isn't satisfied with letting things go, so she has retained a lawyer and intends to file a civil suit in relation to the incident involving her husband.

She said she feels the people involved need to be held accountable.

"For one thing, their names have not been made public," said Barker.

Barker said she also wants to hear an explanation as to why staff at the long-term care home did what they did.

"What was the reason behind you taking a photo of my husband in the most vulnerable condition that he could be in, in the late states of this Huntington's disease, when he's not aware of what's going on around him? I want to know what you got out of this. What satisfaction and gratification did you get by humiliating him?"

Garland said if any new information comes to light related to the long-term care facility in Baie Verte, the police will investigate further.

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