A care worker who neglected a patient with dementia because she was intoxicated at work has received a suspended sentence.
Sinead Donaghy, of Trooperstown, Burnfoot, pleaded guilty to ill treating or neglecting a patient on December 3, 2017.
Derry Magistrate’s Court heard the injured party had been a resident at Owen Mor Care Centre for two and a half years at the time and suffered from dementia.
The woman’s son entered the home and heard his mother shouting. He found her in a secluded area of the dining room alone in the company of 40-year-old Donaghy.
The court heard the lights were off and Donaghy appeared to be intoxicated.
The matter was reported to the duty manager of the home and subsequently to police.
Donaghy was interviewed and admitted she was intoxicated whilst on duty and was not providing the woman with appropriate care.
Defence counsel Steven Mooney said ‘thankfully this was an isolated incident’ which was caused by his client’s ‘chronic alcohol addiction at the time’.
He said the defendant does not intend to work in the caring profession again and had resigned within 24 hours of the incident.
Suspending a four month sentence for two years, District Judge Barney McElholm said the overall picture was one of ‘someone, who through their addiction to alcohol, allowed their professional standards to slip. She fell into the error of drinking on duty and thereby neglected all the patients she was involved with’.
“You can’t look after patients with these difficulties unless you are in full control of your own faculties’, he added.