By Cara Sulieman
A CARER hit an elderly nursing home resident under her care because she thought he was lunging at her.
Valerie Stone, 49, told a stunned colleague “he wasn’t going to hit me first” after she struck 79-year-old Roy Brown in the face.
It came just months after she had shouted at the dementia patient as she was trying to help him in his room.
Colleagues eventually became concerned about the carer – who suffers from mental health and weight-related physical problems herself – and reported her to management at the Braid Hills Nursing Centre in Edinburgh.
She was suspended from her position at the BUPA care home in January while police were contacted and an investigation got underway.
And today at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Stone pled guilty to neglecting Mr Brown between July 1 and November 30, 2009 under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act 2003.
The court heard that Stone – who has worked at the home for four years – had been seen by colleagues struggling with her job and in particular with her patient Roy Brown.
Depute fiscal Aidan Higgins described how on July 1 last year, Stone had become frustrated with Mr Brown as she tried to help him in his room and started to “shout and scream” at him.
Another incident on November 30, 2009 was also witnessed by a colleague at the home.
Mr Higgins said: “It was early in the morning and the accused and a colleague were helping to get this man up for the day.
“It was about seven o’clock in the morning.
“As they were getting trying to get him to his feet he seemed to fall forwards – he seemed to lose control of himself and he lost his balance.
“It would appear that the accused thought that he was lunging at her and making to strike her and it appears, thinking she would get in there first and resist, she struck out and hit him forcefully on the head.
“The colleague who was with her shouted and asked her what on earth she was doing and said this was completely out of order and the accused replied ‘he wasn’t going to his me first’.
“I think it’s fair to say the accused was somebody who was increasingly struggling with her responsibilities.”
Stone was reported to management at the home on January 26 this year after colleagues got together and discussed her behaviour.
The police were then contacted and an investigation got underway.
Stone’s defence agent, Elspeth McDougall, told the court that her client had been struggling with her job for some time but couldn’t afford to give it up.
As well as mental health problems, she suffers from arthritis and mobility problems caused by morbid obesity.
A letter from Stone’s GP at the Southern Medical Group in Edinburgh was showed to Sheriff Deidre MacNeill.
Ms McDougall said: “I think it is clear from the letter that she was not in good physical health at the time of these offences and her emotional wellbeing was of great concern.
“She no longer had the resources to deal with this particular patient.
“She was under a lot of financial pressure to provide for her family as her husband’s working hours had been cut.”
Deferring sentence until next month for background reports, Sheriff MacNeill said that Stone shouldn’t have been working.
She said: “I am amazed that within the last year she has actually been employed as a carer – she’s got severe mobility problems.”