One day after Covenant Health disputed claims that a dementia patient was bitten on the face by mice in a Lethbridge, Alta., care home, Friends of Medicare says it has proof the incident did occur.
The national lobby group alleged Monday that mice had nibbled on a dementia patient Sept. 1 at St. Therese Villa in Lethbridge.
The facility is operated by Covenant Health, a Catholic organization that has service contracts with the provincial health-care provider.
Although a mouse was spotted in the room, a representative for Covenant Health said Tuesday that a medical examination of the patient shows no evidence of animal bites.
“We had a physician look at the lesions on the lady's face,” said Covenant Health’s chief medical officer Dr. Jeff Robinson. “That physician has informed me that he did not think that this was from mouse bites, it was much more characteristic of a virus type of rash.'
But Friends of Medicare executive director Sandra Azocar rejected Covenant Health’s findings, saying that her organization has proof the incident did happen.
"We have the information that would make this situation possible — and that's the information that we will be sharing in the investigation,” she said.
Azocar said staff at the care facility found a nest of mice in a patient’s closet and the vermin problem was reported to Covenant Health one year ago.
'I don't see how it's possible that our seniors are allowed [to live] like that,“ she said.
“Unfortunately, Covenant Health has tried to downplay the seriousness of this matter. We do not have confidence in Covenant Health's investigation of an incident in its own facility.”
"At this point, Covenant Health's denials are not credible," she added.
Additionally, Azocar said multiple family members with relatives inside that facility have submitted complaints and concerns, indicating there are still other issues to be addressed.
"We will be sending the government emails from the family members we've received where they outline some of the issues and concerns they have with the facility."
Health Minister Fred Horne has asked associate minister of seniors George VanderBurg to tour the homes this fall while holding informal meetings with staff at some of the facilities.