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College takes strong disciplinary action when nurse fails to report elder abuse

Nurses reminded of their professional and legal obligations

posted March 30, 2017

The College took strong disciplinary action when Ms. Judith Winter failed to appropriately respond to and report three incidences of sexual assaults of residents under her care. The assaults occurred in October of 2014 at the Kimberley Special Care Home (The Pines) in Kimberly, B.C. 

Upon receiving this complaint in May 2015, CRNBC immediately launched a thorough investigation. Concurrently, as soon as the assaults were reported to the registrant’s supervisor, immediate action was taken at the facility to protect the clients. Shortly after CRNBC initiated its investigation and throughout its duration, Ms. Winters voluntarily stopped working at the facility.

After CRNBC completed the investig​ation, the Inquiry Committee recommended a significant suspension, as well as other remedial measures including education related to conduct and competence.
On Feb. 7, 2017, the CRNBC Inquiry Committee approved a consent agreement between CRNBC and the former registrant in which she acknowledges the seriousness of her actions and agrees to voluntarily retire, relinquishing her registration on a permanent basis, effective March 1, 2017.

Taking elder abuse seriously

Nurses are reminded they have a legal duty to prevent foreseeable risk of harm to any patient in their facilities, and in particular any person who is vulnerable because of a mental and/or physical disabilities. Normalizing sexual assaults or other type​​s of abuse and looking the other way is completely unacceptable. Elder abuse includes actions that cause physical, mental or sexual harm, as well as financial exploitation. Potential signs of abuse include unexplained injuries, fear, anxiety, and unusual financial activity.​​​

Reporting abuse and lodging complaint​​s​

Abuse may be a crime and fall under the Criminal Code. Call your local police ​station for information or to report abuse. If you or someone is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

If you observe a nurse or other health professional failing to report abuse or not meeting their professional obligations, consider submitting a complaint to CRNBC or their respective regulatory college.  

If you're not sure who to contact consult the B.C. government's resource:  Responding to Elder Abuse: Who to call, when and why

​Getting informa​tion and help

The newly named Seniors First BC, formerly the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support, offers a toll-free helpline for older adults, and those who care about them, to talk to someone about situations where they feel they are being abused or mistreated, or to receive information about elder abuse prevention. 

The Seniors Abuse Information Line (SAIL) is available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, excluding statutory holidays:

  • Toll-free: 1-866-437-1940
  • In the Lower Mainland:  604-437-1940
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