For many nursing home residents, round-the-clock care is required to keep them safe and comfortable. But one dementia patient, David Nabulsi, apparently had a more alarming experience at his facility – and his carer’s alleged harsh treatment sparked outrage when Nabulsi’s daughter realized what had gone on.
For Nabulsi’s family, the choice to place their loved one in a care facility may have been clear. That’s because Nabulsi suffered from dementia – a disease that can cause sufferers to be a danger to themselves. In particular, those with dementia are likely to wander off, fall down or even exhibit marked aggression.
So, the elderly man moved into a room at a facility in Seaforth, a northern suburb of Australia’s largest city, Sydney. But while a health insurance company called Bupa oversaw the nursing home, it wouldn’t be one of the firm’s employees that would raise the alarm. Instead, Nabulsi’s daughter, Ayda Celine, noticed something amiss.
It all started, Celine said, when she began to see bruises on her father’s body. She told 9 News in September 2018, “[My dad] was complaining about pain. And when I took down his trousers, I noticed dark, black bruising that had been there for a while.”
However, the Bupa facility had a simple explanation for her father’s injuries that seemingly fell in line with his dementia diagnosis. “I was advised that he might have fallen, so I let it go,” Celine explained. Even so, Nabulsi’s behavior apparently worsened after his daughter had discovered the blemishes.
For one, Celine recalled that her father “wouldn’t let [her] touch him.” On top of that, the patient “didn’t leave his bedroom or eat,” she said. Celine even claimed that her father would be left to wear a soiled diaper for hours without a change.
So, Celine tried reaching out to the facility first. “Several times I would call just to speak to someone on the phone to tell them dad wasn’t being looked after,” Nabulsi’s daughter told 9 News. As she was ultimately left without a satisfactory explanation for the lack of care, though, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Specifically, Celine installed a camera in Nabulsi’s room to watch over him – something she said the facility was failing to do. And what the device allegedly captured appeared to confirm her suspicions in the worst possible way.
That’s because the camera reportedly recorded care home employee Prakash Paudyal as he repeatedly attacked Nabulsi. In one segment, the carer is seen yanking on Nabulsi’s shirt and appearing to try to lay him down on the bed.
Then, when Nabulsi tries to sit himself upright, he loses his balance and falls to the ground. Rather than helping his patient up, though, Paudyal seems to point at him angrily instead. Paudyal then continues with his duties, stripping sheets from the bed.
Another clip shows Paudyal as he gently attempts to remove Nabulsi’s clothing. But the worker appears to change his tactics as the task becomes difficult; instead, he pulls back on Nabulsi’s shirt until the patient almost falls backwards.
But that was hardly the most upsetting part of what the camera allegedly captured. In one clip, Nabulsi is seen putting his arm out in front of himself. And while initially it is unclear what the man is protecting himself from, Paudyal then appears on camera.
After that, the carer appears to charge at his patient and begin hitting him with a shoe over and over again. The footage ends with Paudyal ripping off the elderly man’s shirt before helping him into a new one.
Reportedly, the footage had been captured across just three days, from August 26 to August 29, 2018. One week after the filming had ended, though, Paudyal was arrested on two common assault charges as well as a charge of one use of an offensive weapon. He later made an appearance at Manly Local Court, where he failed to apologize to Nabulsi’s family.
Detective Acting Inspector Guy Magee, part of the Northern Beaches Police Area Command, also spoke out after the arrest. He told 9 News, “I can’t imagine what it would be like for the family to watch [the footage]. It’s cowardly, it’s disgraceful, and I encourage people to report these crimes to the police.”
Magee also asserted that more than 50,000 elderly people have experienced abuse – but that only one in 10,000 of those cases are reported. “The bravery of these victims and their families helps bring a resolution to these crimes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Paudyal lost his job with Bupa, and the health care company additionally spoke out against the way in which their employee had acted. “[We] take the safety and wellbeing of [our] residents seriously, and we are shocked and saddened by what has occurred at our Seaforth care home,” Bupa said in a statement.
However, while the discovery of the alleged abuse gave Celine a resolution, it also made her even more fearful for her father’s well-being. “It’s devastating, and, mentally, I just don’t sleep anymore. I’m [at the care facility] seven days a week because I don’t trust the people looking after him,” she told 9 News.
Celine’s father, too, had apparently felt the after-effects of his alleged attacks. Nabulsi’s family spoke to 7 News, revealing that the elderly patient would now only let female care workers look after him. The senior also refuses to let workers shut the door to his room.
Fortunately, Detective Magee said that he would do all he could to close the chapter for Nabulsi and his family by looking into every complaint made against the alleged attacker. “If there is further evidence [of abuse], he will be prosecuted for that,” Magee told 9 News. Paudyal is set to appear again at Manly Local Court on October 9, 2018.