A CARE home worker accused of ‘covering a dementia patient’s mouth with her hand and putting a pillow on his face to shut him up’, has denied ill-treating him.
Jade Kilgariff, 20, who worked at Kingsland House care home in Shoreham, is accused of ill-treating 88-year-old resident Clifford Moore who suffered from vascular dementia and could not talk.
It is alleged colleagues saw her cover Mr Moore’s face with her hands to shut him up on two occasions when he became distressed being put to bed.
She is also accused of putting a sheet over his a face on one occasion, and a pillow on another.
But at Brighton Crown Court yesterday, the senior care worker categorically denied ill-treating him.
When asked by her defence barrister James Caldwell about the allegations she said she covered his face with the pillow and sheet for a matter of seconds as distraction technique to calm him, but never made contact with his face.
She told the court: “I pulled the sheet so it was just over the bottom half of his face, it wasn’t done in a malicious way.
“I have nephews and if they get agitated I use a blanket, it was more like a distraction technique.
“It might have been taken the wrong way [by colleagues].
“Mr Moore stopped shouting, there was nothing to indicate he was frightened by anything I had done.”
Kilgariff, who became a senior carer after working at the home for two years, said the “peek-a-boo” technique she used with Mr Moore was not taught to her, and she had only been given a two day dementia training course.
She also categorically denied putting her hand over his mouth.
Under cross-examination from prosecutor James Lofthouse, Kilgariff was asked why she had not told other colleagues about the technique if it was so effective.
She replied: “I don’t know.”
When asked if she lost her fuse, she responded: “I never let any frustration out on residents.”
The court also heard from a second colleague Charmaine Bridle who said she witnessed Kilgariff put her hand over his mouth.
She said: “I think her hand was placed on his mouth firmly.
“Clifford looked shocked and little bit frightened in his eyes because he wasn’t expecting it and he was quiet for a moment.
“It remained there for about five seconds but I can not be sure.”
She said she then witnessed Kilgariff throw a sheet over Mr Moore and put her hands on his mouth again, before she reported it.
Kilgariff, Wilmot Road, Shoreham, denies one charge of ill-treating a person in her care who lacked mental-capacity.
The trial continues.
Kingsland House care home in Kingsland Close, Shoreham, is run by national care home chain Barchester and cares for up to 71 people.
The care home offer has unit for frail older people and has a dedicated dementia unit.
In November 2017 the home was rated inadequate overall by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Safety and management were the two areas the government watchdog were most worried about.
The report said there were insufficient numbers of staff on duty at certain times of the day.
Source: The Argus