What Hellen MacDonald Means to Me.

I encourage you to watch the video above. I am ashamed to say that this took place near my home town. It will disturb you. Especially when you start thinking about your own mother, husband, or yourself lying in place of Hellen. Me, I think about my Grandfather who was also afflicted with Alzheimer’s while living in long term care.

To summarize from various news sources:

CHEX News: “In February we brought you the story of Hellen Macdonald. She suffered severe facial bruising and a broken hip at the hands of another resident of the long term care facility she lives in. Her son was not happy with how the incidents were handled by St. Josephs at Fleming, and the Ministry of Health. Camille Parent could no longer stand by and watch his mother suffer. So he installed a hidden video camera in her room in late April. What the video shows is alarming .”1

Peterborough Examiner: “There was a nurse who shoved feces-filled rags in his mother’s face while she cleaned her. That same nurse is later seen violently washing his mother and roughly changing her diaper, pushing her hands away when she raises them in protest. An employee blows his nose on his mother’s fresh sheets before making the bed with them. Two employees close the door and exchange affections while his mother lies awake nearby. “I can’t tell you how I felt when I put the tape in and saw the video,” Parent said. Then there’s the stuff that didn’t make the broadcast. Parent’s mother is 85 and suffers from Alzhiemer’s diasease. Parent said he has clips showing his mother standing naked near an open doorway while staff change her diaper.”2

Appalling just isn’t a strong enough word. Please make some noise and pass along this story.

The staff involved have so far only been suspended while an investigation takes place- not fired, let alone charged and arrested. I’m not saying each of them is equally responsible. But they ALL could use a lesson in RESPECT.


To me, Hellen is a re-commitment to my duty as a medic. Paramedic’s have the unique opportunity,  and responsibility, to serve and protect their communities health by identifying abuse and neglect.  When I was hired I was given a voice, one I am able to use to speak up for others. Because paramedics are often required to enter other peoples’ environments, we have the chance to be a fresh set of watchful and caring eyes. Our patient is our priority, and to me that doesn’t just mean for the duration of the call. A fall isn’t always “just a fall,” and forgetfulness isn’t always “just forgetting.”

Now for a review of what elder abuse is and may look like….

ElderAbuseChart (2)3

For more information follow this link to a very well written document from helpguide. org on abuse risk factors, signs, and reporting>>>http://www.helpguide.org/mental/elder_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.htm


“As difficult as reporting elder abuse can be, it’s important for you to stand up for an older adult in need.”4


Take care of each other out there.




(1) http://chextv.com/News/LN/13-05-16/Hidden_Camera_Reveals_Shocking_Abuse_at_Long_Term_Care_Home.aspx

(2) http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/2013/05/17/ministry-of-health-and-long-term-care-investigating-after-hidden-camera-video-reveals-st-josephs-at-fleming-resident-being-abused-by-staff

(3) http://www.thecareguide.com/Peel/PeelHousing5.aspx

(4) http://www.helpguide.org/mental/elder_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.htm


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