Date
13 December 2017
An elderly-care home in Tai Po has been accused of leaving its residents naked for prolonged periods on a building terrace before the seniors were given baths. Photos: Ming Pao, Google Map
An elderly-care home in Tai Po has been accused of leaving its residents naked for prolonged periods on a building terrace before the seniors were given baths. Photos: Ming Pao, Google Map

Elderly-care home faces heat over residents’ right to privacy

Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department (SWD) has launched an investigation into a private elderly-care home in the city after receiving complaints that the facility had not been handling its residents properly.

Tai Po Cambridge Nursing Home, located on Wan Tau Street in Tai Po, is being probed after some neighboring residents complained that the seniors at the facility were not being treated with due respect, Ming Pao Daily reported.  

The elderly-care home, which claims to be a six-star facility, charges between HK$9,000 (US$1,160) and HK$9,500 per bed each month. It accepts people who suffer from dementia and other age-related illnesses and have lost the ability to take care of themselves.

A woman who lived in an apartment nearby was quoted as saying that she had been seeing nurses at the facility take the elderly to bathrooms on the terrace during shower time.

The senior citizens were made to wait, sometimes for as long as two hours, without any clothes for their turn for the bath, the woman said.

The actions raise serious concerns about violation of the senior citizens’ right to dignity and privacy, Li said.

Ming Pao said its investigations late last month confirmed what the woman was saying. There is said to be some video evidence of the alleged mishandling of the senior citizens.

The SWD, meanwhile, was quoted as saying that it is very concerned about the reported violation of the elderly’s right to privacy. An official investigation has been launched, it said.

The nursing home had in the past five years received several warning letters from the SWD for violating regulations, but there was no prosecution, the report said.

A manager at Against Elderly Abuse of Hong Kong, a group that fights for the cause of the elderly, said the alleged treatment of residents by the Tai Po nursing home is an insult to senior citizens and that it should not be tolerated.

The SWD has been failing to do its job, he said. The government agency merely looks at documents and sanitation at the elderly-care homes, without examining how the residents are actually being treated, the person said.

Irene Luk, founder of Cambridge Nursing Home — which has 18 nursing homes in Hong Kong – admitted that some nurses may have done things improperly.

Precautions will be taken to prevent such things from happening again, she said.

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TL/AC/RC

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