By Lauren Crooks
A NURSE who disabled her patients’ emergency alarms has avoided being struck from the register.
Anne Facchini, 54, disconnected the call buzzers in the rooms of two elderly disabled residents in separate Ayrshire care homes.
One wheelchair-bound woman was forced to wet the bed as a result, leaving her “distressed, upset and humiliated”.
And another had to scream to care assistants for help because her monitor wouldn’t work.
When the allegations came to light, Facchini quickly resigned from her post at both homes.
But she denied pulling the plug in the patient’s room, and a similar incident in a patient’s room while she worked at Sun Court Nursing Home in Troon.
But after a three-day hearing a panel of the NMC’s competence and conduct committee ruled the allegations to be true.
The panel ruled a claim that Facchini had gone to sleep during her shift for one and a half hours was not proved.
Facchini was facing being struck off for the misconduct, but instead the panel decided to give her a four-year caution order – meaning she can keep her job as a midwife at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock.
Chairwoman Pamela Ormerod said: “The panel recognises that the disconnection of a buzzer can only have been deliberate. However, the panel has taken into account that the incidents occurred within a period of around six days in August 2007 in a long career – the registrant qualified as a nurse in 1984 and subsequently as a midwife in 1986 – in which no other matters have come to the attention of the NMC.”
She added that Facchini’s remorse for her actions had helped them come to their decision.
During the hearing, the panel were presented with evidence from Alison Murray, a carer at Sun Court.
Mrs Murray told how she was helping the patients to get cleaned up during early rounds when she noticed a patient’s buzzer had been disabled.
She said: “The old lady told me that she didn’t think the nurse liked her because she had pulled her buzzer out of the wall.
“I didn’t have any other evidence it was Anne and the Matron was quite friendly with her so I was torn between looking after my residents and saying something.
“I needed my job and didn’t want to lose it.”
But managers began investigating just a week later when a similar complaint was made at Glenfairn, another of the same Group’s privately run homes.
Another carer Diane Brown was interviewed during the probe and was asked directly if Facchini had been disabling patient’s alarms or sleeping on the job.
She said: “It’s not easy or pleasant to whistle-blow but I couldn’t lie, she was taking buzzers out regularly.
“One patient buzzed and asked Mrs Facchini for the commode and was told she would return with help but she was waiting for two hours and had to do the toilet in bed.
“She was distressed, upset and humiliated.”
Glenfairn manager Brenda Williamson said she was convinced Mrs Fachinni had been switching off patient’s alarms.
She said: “On the evidence I had the allegations were sufficient that she had removed the buzzers.
“She knew the company policy on gross misconduct otherwise she would not have offered to resign.”
“Even during a break the nurse has a duty of care for the residents and you rely on that nurse’s common sense.”