U.K. hidden camera footage in a Brent nursing home has placed five nursing aides in custody after over a year of accusations. The nursing aides in question are accused of threatening, berating, striking, and abusing a 94-year-old woman with dementia, Paniben Shah.
According to reports from the Evening Standard, Mrs. Shah’s family placed her into the Meera House in Mar. 2017, to help care for her after her dementia became too advanced for home care. After several months, Mrs. Shah began to complain of abuse. At first, these accounts were dismissed as a potential effect of her dementia, but eventually, family members agreed to plant a hidden camera in her room.
The U.K. hidden camera footage showed five aides; 46-year-old Anita Kc Thapa, 49-year-old Anita Bc, 55-year-old Heena Parekh, 39-year-old Dolon Roy, and 34-year-old Moumita Roy abusing Mrs. Shah. Some examples presented to the court included:
- Roughly dressing Mrs. Shah
- Using fingers and hands to gag Mrs. Shah
- Slapping Mrs. Shah
- Pouring scalding water on Mrs. Shah
- Feeding Mrs. Shah meat despite knowing she is a vegetarian
Throughout the footage, Mrs. Shah is shown to protest, even begging “Why are you beating me so much?” Despite her cries, the aides do not stop their abuse and instead threaten her to “keep your mouth shut.”
In part due to the U.K. hidden camera footage, Thapa, Bc, Parekh, Dolon Roy, and Moumita Roy, were arrested, arraigned, and confessed to ill-treatment by a care worker. In response to their conduct, Judge Lana Wood said that the aides had “deprived Mrs. Shah of the dignity and respect she was entitled to” and that the treatment of the nursing aides left Mrs. Shah “without humanity and sometimes physically assaulted.”
On Nov. 22, 2019, The nursing aides were sentenced based on their involvement. Anita Kc Thapa was sentenced to six months imprisonment, Anita Bc was given five months in jail, Heena Parekh received four months in jail, Moumita Roy was sentenced to 240 hours’ community service, and Dolon Roy received 200 hours. In addition, Moumita and Dolon Roy were each ordered to pay £200 compensation.
In response to the U.K. hidden camera footage and the abuse of their nursing aides, Meera House declined to comment directly. After the family showed Brent council the videos in April 2018, the home suspended the women, Mrs. Shah was moved and the Brent police received the U.K. hidden camera footage to begin their investigation.
After their sentencing, a spokesman for Meera House commented on the events saying “We were shocked and devastated by these events and acted immediately to suspend any member of staff that was implicated. We have subsequently worked closely with the police to assist in the prosecutions they have pursued. No member of staff involved in the incident remains at the home.”
The U.K. hidden camera footage that was used to fail the five nursing aides is demonstrative of a larger movement across the developed world in which family members of nursing home residents are now taking investigations into their own hands in order to advocate for their family members. Whether because of distrust for nursing homes’ internal investigative ability or in a genuine spirit of caution, this new trend has now created a third observer to the traditional resident-nursing aide dynamic.
For more information about identifying and pursuing claims of nursing home abuse, visit the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys’ Physical Abuse Page.