Freedom of Information requests reveal alleged abuses at seniors’ homes

by Brittany Wentzell

A CBC investigation into abuses at long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia has turned up three alleged instances in Lunenburg County.

The incidents happened over a two-year period, 2015 through 2016. According to heavily redacted documents from the Department of Health and Wellness, the incidents occurred at Hillside Pines in Bridgewater, Harbour View Haven in Lunenburg, and the Mahone Bay Nursing Home.

The South Shore cases were a part of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request that the CBC made, revealing over 46 cases of abuse at long-term care facilities across Nova Scotia.

The incidents were investigated under the province's Protection for Persons in Care Act (PPCA). Under current legislation facilities must report all allegations of abuse.


The documents obtained through the FOI outline an incident at Harbour View Haven where in April, 2015, a complaint was filed alleging staff failed to provide adequate nutrition, care, medical attention, or the necessities of life without valid consent.

The report made by the PPCA found the allegation of failure to provide care was unfounded, however, the allegation of failure to provide medical attention was valid.

Directives for the facility were provided to staff including requiring wound care policies to be up to date and making sure staff are aware of said policies and procedures.


In September 2015, a report was made alleging failure to provide adequate care. The report noted that staff were particularly busy during the time of the incident and that the pager system they use worked inconsistently. However, it also found staff had not completed rounds that evening.

PPCA directed staff to ensure staff receive training and education around responses to residents' call bells in safe and appropriate time frames. There was also direction given on routine checks on residents and communication.

Mahone Bay

In July 2016, an incident was reported at Mahone Bay Nursing Home alleging emotional abuse. The investigation found there was evidence of mistreatment causing emotional harm, intimidating, humiliating, harassing and harassing or restricting from "appropriate social contact."

However, no directives were given at the time as it was determined the nursing home had reacted quickly to protect the resident at the time of the incident.

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