Carer who picked up food from floor and shoved it into 81-year-old man’s mouth is struck off

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A CARE home worker has been struck off for assaulting an 81-year-old man and shoving food in his face that she picked up from the floor.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) said that Mary Nicholson was not fit to be a care worker and that she would be struck off the care worker register.

Nicholson was working at Craigend Gardens Care Home in Ruchazie, Glasgow, on February 14, 2016, when she assaulted the then 81-year-old man and picked up food from the ground, forcibly pushing it into his mouth “against his will”.

She was later convicted of assault over the incident at Glasgow Sheriff Court on January 5 on this year, but continued to deny the incident took place – showing no remorse for her actions.

The SSSC held a panel hearing on June 5 and 6 over Nicholson’s fitness to be a care worker.

The panel was damning over her behaviour and the risk she could continue to pose to elderly residents.

Stating the reasons for her dismissal, the panel said: “The Presenter submitted that your conviction, taken together with your lack of engagement with the present proceedings, which she characterised as demonstrative of a lack of insight, demonstrated that your fitness to practise is presently impaired.

The SSSC held a panel which heard evidence of Nicholson’s misconduct

“She submitted that your conviction for assault was serious, demonstrating a loss of self-control that was not immediately remediable.

“She submitted that your actions were fundamentally incompatible with membership of a caring profession.

“The Presenter further submitted that your behaviour placed a resident at risk of physical and emotional harm and that any repetition would risk further harm.

“Your constant denial of the allegation, including after conviction was such, she submitted, that the Panel could have no confidence that your conduct would not be repeated.

The panel added: “The Presenter submitted that in the light of the serious nature of your conviction and the absence of insight on your part, there was a future risk of harm to service users.

“Further, she submitted that having regard to the need to maintain confidence in the profession and to maintain proper standards of performance, your conduct had brought your profession into disrepute and in the absence of any evidence of insight that you were likely to do so in the future.”

Craigend Gardens, which provides 24-hour care for a maximum of 48 elderly residents, was heavily criticised in a 2016 Care Inspectorate report months after the incident with Nicholson.

Care and support, environment, staffing, and management and leadership, were all graded as “weak”.

The report, completed on November 3, 2016 said: “Although we saw staff in attendance with residents in the lounge area, treating them with respect and warmth, staff did not always engage in meaningful interactions with residents.”

The most recent Care Inspectorate report, completed last year, appears to show that improvements have been made since the assault.

The report in September graded all four aspects of quality of service as “good”.

Craigend Gardens declined to comment.

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