LETHBRIDGE: An investigation looking into a complaint that a resident at St. Therese Villa in Lethbridge was bitten by a mouse has found no evidence to support the claim.
Early in September, the group "Friends of Medicare" claimed that on September 1st, a dementia and disabled resident of the St. Therese Villa Designated Assisted Living facility, (a Covenant Health facility in Lethbridge), was discovered by a staff member with mice nibbling at her face.
At the time of the accusation, the Vice-President of Operations for Covenant Health's Rural Services says the Health Information Act prevented her from disclosing any patient information. However, Sheli Murphy noted, "We have called in someone from pest control to ensure that we can't do anything more than we've already done, so certainly we use those resources, as well as working closely with Alberta Health Services and our infection practice control has worked with theirs and we have been in contact with Public Health".
Murphy also explained, "We have multiple traps both inside and outside the building - outside the building near entrances. We also ensure that there's proper sealing of the building - doors and windows - and other places where a mouse could get in".
Covenant Health president and CEO Patrick Dumelie spoke to Country 95 News after the report was released. He addressed his concerns with the allegations and how they were raised, "From our perspective the facts show that the Friends of Medicare release really perpetuated false information and gave rise to some significant, unfounded fears. It's been harmful to the staff who give great care on a daily basis and work very hard to do that, but more importantly it gives great concern to this individual and family, and all the residents and families who are part of our facility. So we think the Friends of Medicare, in releasing this false information, really were reckless and irresponsible."
St. Theresa Villa, is a 200-bed facility with five dementia units. Residents bring in their own beds and other household items into the facility, which has been of concern to Friends of Medicare. Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of the group stated, "Staff at this facility have been expressing concerns regarding mice for the past year, and this is the same facility that has had ongoing bed bug issues for over nine months"
Alberta Health launched an investigation and the 51-page report (link attached below) was released Friday, indicating no one had come forward to indicate they had witnessed a mouse biting a patient and there was no evidence found to substantiate the claim. The report went on to note, that no one witnessed a mouse or mouse droppings on or near the patient in question or any other residents.
The report did acknowledge there had been intermittent issues with bed bug infestations (which were dealt with) and seven recommendations were made for moving forward.
Those recommendations include following through with a Bed Bug Action Plan and joint action plan with AHS for mouse and other pest infestation management, working collaboratively to develop a communication strategy regarding nuisances and pests in supportive living, review with staff the policies and procedures regarding the appropriate channels to address concerns, and hold regular monthly meetings with residents and family members.
Letter from Deputy Health Minister: