Former Kamloops care aide pleads guilty after leaving elderly woman emaciated | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Former Kamloops care aide pleads guilty after leaving elderly woman emaciated

A former Kamloops care aide is waiting to be sentenced for failing to provide the necessities of life after neglecting the disabled elderly woman she was caring for, leaving her emaciated.

Dawn Brush pleaded guilty to the single charge in Kamloops Supreme Court yesterday, Nov. 23, but court proceedings are ongoing to determine the sentence she will face.

Brush, who was working through an agency associated with the Crown corporation Community Living B.C., cared for the woman for over 13 years at a live-in setting in the Sagebrush area of Kamloops.

Warning signs began to surface when the woman, who was 68 years old at the time, was admitted to Royal Inland Hospital by her doctor, who had not seen her for two years.

The court heard that when she attended Royal Inland Hospital in May 2019, she weighed 72 lbs, was almost completely bald and had open wounds on either side of her head.

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Kamloops RCMP officers who searched the home where Brush cared for the woman said it was littered with animal feces, smelled of urine and had medical records strewn throughout the house.

Const. Katelyn Jones was the primary investigator when police searched the house. She told the court in the sentencing hearing that she was surprised by the smell of the house and found animal feces immediately upon entering.

When searching the woman's bedroom, the bed was stained and smelled of urine, and Jones said there was skin on the sheets, similar to peeling skin after a sunburn.

Another officer had to leave the house multiple times because of the stench and later developed a rash where her skin was exposed during the search.

The woman did not return to Brush's home after visiting the hospital, and instead went to a new group home, run by Western Human Resources.

"The funding company had asked, because I had open beds at (our facility), if I would take a patient straight out of the hospital and then gave me some details about her," project manager for Western Human Resources Tanya Knighton said in court. "Then I got her full medical history which stated that it was an abuse, neglect situation."

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Knighton testified that while in hospital, the woman was given a pediatric hospital gown because she was too small for adult sizes.

Since she was transferred to a new group home in July 2019, the woman was placed on a new diet and now weighs roughly 165 lbs, more than double her weight when admitted to hospital in May 2019.

"She is amazing now," Knighton said of the woman, who is now 71 and still lives under the care of Western Human Resources.

While under Brush's care, the woman had not had a prescription filled since 2017, but medical documents throughout the house, which had Brush's initials, were manipulated.

Crown prosecutor Tim Livingston is pursuing that evidence as an aggravating factor in the offence, which would strengthen the chances of Brush receiving jail time. While Brush has pleaded guilty, the hearing is to determine some facts alleged by the Crown she takes issue with.

Defence lawyer Cameron Mathee-Johnson, who was appointed by the court for Brush, said there is no evidence to say who exactly manipulated the medical records, and it cannot be proven that Brush knowingly manipulated the documents.

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Mathee-Johnson told iNFOnews.ca that after 11 years of care without incident, Brush should receive a psychiatric assessment to determine what caused a lapse in care to result in such neglect for the elderly woman.

A sentencing date is yet to be scheduled, but the hearing is back in Kamloops Supreme Court in front of Justice Sheri Ann Donegan today.


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