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Thamesmead nurse disciplined for falling asleep at Bupa care home
A DOZING Thamesmead care home nurse who left dementia sufferers cold and covered in urine has been cautioned.
Columba Asima Ewonkem was in charge of the Squires House Unit at Bupa's Gallions View Nursing Home, in Pier Way, Thamesmead, on December 6 2010.
An unannounced visit by two managers - Jacky Sylvester and Tiberiu Ionescu - found Ewonkem asleep in a chair and covered with a blanket at around 2.30am.
Another employee was discovered snoring in front of a television while a third staff member was asleep on a chair covered with blankets and a sheet over her forehead.
Several of the residents were found in a condition which gave cause for concern, including a woman in bed who was covered in urine and faeces.
Another resident was missing from his room and was found in a bathroom - cold and wearing nothing but pyjama bottoms which were soaking wet.
It was noted that there was just a quilt cover and no pillows on his bed and a bed sheet was found behind the door.
The man was known to have dementia as well as being blind and required close monitoring after sustaining a head injury during a fall that day.
During the night residents were required to be checked hourly but when Ms Sylvester checked the record chart it was noted that checks to be made by Ewonkem at 2am were not filled out.
An open box of disposable gloves were found outside the treatment room on a rail, which is seen as a risk to patients suffering with dementia as they may try to ingest them.
The inspection also noted that the door to the treatment room, although closed, had been left unlocked and all fire doors apart from one were open - contrary to the BUPA fire policy which requires them to be closed between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
Ewonkem was dismissed on February 4 at a disciplinary hearing and on October 5 was given a caution order for five years by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
The NMC's conduct and competence committee substantive meeting told him: "Although serious, the panel did not think that the seriousness of the case required your temporary removal from the register.
"The imposition of a period of suspension would be punitive.
"You have recognised your failures and omissions and demonstrated remorse and insight."
A Bupa spokesman said: "Our residents’ wellbeing is our top priority.
"A routine check showed that Mr Ewonkem was not meeting our high standards of care and therefore we dismissed him and referred him to the NMC."
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