Hong Kong government urged to take control over notorious nursing home

Four patients relocated from Bridge of Rehabilitation have since been involved in accidents and returned to the familiar facility, which is set to have its licence revoked

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 October, 2016, 11:27pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 October, 2016, 11:27pm

Lawmakers have called on the government to take over operations of a scandal-hit nursing home for the mentally disabled, after the relocation of residents to new facilities resulted in a series of accidents.

The social welfare department last week said it would revoke Bridge of Rehabilitation’s temporary operating licence for failing to comply with care and management standards and after at least five suspicious deaths took place at the facility over the past two years. More than half the residents have since relocated from the Kwai Chung home.

Just days after their relocation, however, Labour Party legislator Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said a number of the residents had been involved in accidents at their new homes, and had to be returned to familiar surroundings.

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He said two mentally impaired female residents started fighting each other once placed at their new home – something that had not happened before.

In another case, he said a woman was hospitalised for prolonged sun exposure at her new facility, which was caused by a lack of staff. And a man with cognitive disorder went missing from his new home four times after leaving Bridge of Rehabilitation.

Families of all four residents returned their loved ones to Bridge of Rehabilitation after struggling to find alternatives.

“[Mentally disabled] people are slow to adapt to a new environment. Once their daily routes were disrupted, the risk of accidents became very high,” Cheung said.

During his visits to relocated residents, Cheung found some patients’ conditions had started to regress, showing symptoms not seen for a long time.

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He called on the social welfare department to take over the troubled care home and come up with a more humane solution, instead of sending residents away.

The lawmaker’s claims come after Secretary of Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung yesterday said the relocation of Bridge of Rehabilitation residents had been “smooth”, with 48 out of 79 moved out by Friday night.

The privately-run care centre was put under the spotlight after Cheung Kin-wah, its former superintendent, was accused of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 21-year-old mentally disabled woman in 2014.

The Department of Justice dropped the charges against the man because the victim was unfit to testify.