Nova Scotia's NDP government says quick changes are not planned to a centre for the mentally handicapped and mentally ill where 19 cases of physical, emotional or sexual abuse of residents were recorded over an almost two-year period.
Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse said she needs some time to consider an ongoing departmental review of the Riverview adult rehabilitation centre in Riverton, south of New Glasgow.
She said the review, expected this fall, will look at programs offered and administration of the Riverview centre - as well as consider what lies behind the 19 cases.
“Any abuse is too high, but you're dealing with residents who have very complex issues and a great deal of stress,” Peterson-Rafuse said by phone.
She said of the 19 cases, 10 were of unwanted sexual contact between residents, and those could include relatively minor cases of unwanted advances or touching.
Four cases involved staff physically abusing residents, which is defined by the Protection of Persons in Care Act as actions “resulting in pain, discomfort or injury.”
Peterson-Rafuse said one staff member was suspended.
There were also two cases determined to be “founded” by investigators of neglect by staff, defined as failure to provide adequate care. And there were two cases of emotional abuse by staff.
Manning MacDonald, the Liberal party's community services critic, said he found it “unbecoming” that an NDP government wasn't promising quick changes at large adult residential centres and a deeper investigation into the extent of abuse.
The 19 cases represent almost half of the 43 cases in Nova Scotia that were classified as “founded” between Oct. 2, 2007, and July 31, 2009.