Nurse is accused of falsifying medication records and giving wrong amounts of medicine to nursing home residents

A nurse has appeared before an inquest accused of falsifying medication records and giving wrong amounts of medicine to residents of a care home in Cork city.

Armelita Bacani faced a total of 21 allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland for her caring for six residents at the CareChoice center on Upper Glanmire Road in Montenotte in 2017.

Ms Bacani, originally from the Philippines, appeared before a hearing by the NMBI Committee on Practice Fitness in Dublin on Thursday, which coincided with her 52nd birthday.

NMBI lawyer Lorna Lynch BL claimed the allegations also constituted a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Registered Nurses.

The investigation came after a complaint by the nursing home’s then-director of care, Joanne Williams, to the NMBI in September 2017.

The FTC committee heard that the complaints about Ms Bacani had also been referred to Gardaí at the time, but the DPP later ruled that the case should not be prosecuted.

The committee’s legal expert, Patricia Dillon SC, said Ms Bacani does not dispute the facts that she forged signatures on medical records relating to the use of controlled drugs.

Ms Dillon said the nurse, who is not legally represented, is also unable to dispute the allegations or argue that medicines are not being administered or the correct doses are not being provided because she cannot recall events.

The investigation found Ms Bacani twice administered half the required dose of a pain reliever, Oramorph, to a person known as Resident A on May 26, 2017.

On May 31, 2017, she had given another person, resident B, an amount below the required dose of a treatment for diabetes NovoRapid.

Ms Bacani was accused of administering non-prescribed medication, including sleeping pills and a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, to Resident B and three other residents on July 8, 2017, but signed records of the medication administration to indicate that she was giving them the given medication.

The investigation found that on 22 separate dates in 2017, the nurse had also entered false initials into the nursing home’s controlled medication register to indicate that she had administered a pain medication to a resident E in the presence of another registered nurse, as the Prescribes CareChoice controlled drug policy.

Similarly, for 10 days in 2017, she had forged the initials of other nurses on the same registry in connection with providing the pain reliever Oxycontin to a resident F.

Three former nurses at the center, Jet Garcia, Konrad Banach and Olaide Adebayo, indicated that their initials on the drug registry were not signed by them.

Ms Williams told the inquiry it was important that certain drugs were given to vulnerable residents in a timely manner so that they would be effective.

While acknowledging that the process of recording medication administration was “time-consuming,” Ms Williams said recruiting a controlled medication colleague during her time at the care home had never been a problem.

“We found it hard to believe that something like this could happen,” she noted.

Ms Williams said she reported the matter to Gardaí because it was controlled drugs and Ms Bacani was suspended.

Ms Lynch said Ms Bacani wrote to the NMBI that she had decided to give residents the medication herself because they were in pain.

However, she said the nurse has now accepted that she did not follow proper procedures.

The resumption of the hearing, which had been adjourned since February, had previously been informed that Ms Bacani, a single mother, had undergone a hysterectomy in October 2016.

The committee heard the nurse wrote in a letter saying she acted out of compassion for residents of the care home because of the pain she felt after her own surgery.

The hearing was adjourned and continued on Friday. Nurse is accused of falsifying medication records and giving wrong amounts of medicine to nursing home residents

Fry Electronics Team

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