Care home boss accused of sedating dementia patients by hiding drugs in their meals
Janet Foster allegedly ran an 'institutionalised' ward at the care home in Stockton-on-TeesMeal times 'appallingly organised' with patients wandering off without finishing 15 of 17 patients lost weight during a one month period



18:40 GMT, 11 December 2012

A care home boss ran an 'institutionalised' care home where dementia patients were sedated with drugs hidden in their meals, a hearing has heard.

Janet Foster allegedly told staff to send residents to bed at 8pm, regardless of whether they were tired and refused to let them see a singer perform at the Victoria House Care Centre in Stockton-on-Tees.

Meal times at the home were 'appallingly organised' and 15 out of 17 patients lost weight over a
one-month period, the Nursing and Midwifery Council was told.

'Appallingly organised': Janet Foster is accused of sedating dementia patients by putting medication into their meals at the Victoria House Care Centre in Stockton-on-Tees

'Appallingly organised': Janet Foster is accused of sedating dementia patients by putting medication into their meals at the Victoria House Care Centre in Stockton-on-Tees

Foster denies a catalogue of charges including failing to ensure patient medication records were adequately maintained by staff and failing to prevent residents from losing weight.

She also denies failing to make adequate referrals to GPs and dieticians for residents losing too much weight and encouraging staff to carry out showering of residents only on allocated days.

Foster further denies instructing staff to administer medication to residents covertly in their meals or with their sweets.

Jean Tomlinson, a quality inspector, told the hearing: 'The ward was very institutionalised, there were no activities for the patients.

'A lot of them just seemed sedated, the staff just weren't treating them properly, they weren't aware of the standard requirements.

'The weight log showed vast amounts of weight loss between November and December 2009, with 15 out of the 17 patients losing weight.

'When I investigated this, I found the meal times were appallingly organised. Residents were just getting up and walking away, and no one was checking to see if they had finished.

'There were no snacks available for residents whatsoever, as there should have been. In my opinion, Ms Foster had no leadership skills at all.'

Ms Tomlinson told the panel after she introduced changes to the way meals were offered, the weight loss rate dropped to just one patient in March last year.

Foster was dismissed from the home in Bath Lane, Stockton-on-Tees in March 2010 after Ms Tomlinson's inspection revealed a number of problems with her ward.

Ms Tomlinson said she had to re-write all the care plans for patients, because they were out of date or omitting key details.

At the time of the alleged incidents, between July 2009 and February 2010, the home was run by Southern Cross.

Foster admits not reporting a fight between two residents and instructing day staff to administer night medicine at the end of their shifts.

She denies the remainder of the charges against her including one alleging she instructed staff on not to allow residents to attend a performance given by a singer at the home.

If the panel finds her fitness to practice impaired she could face being struck off from the nursing profession.

The hearing continues.