Kirkcaldy care home worker struck off for bullying resident

A Kirkcaldy care home worker has been struck off after an investigation by the governing body found that she had bullied a resident.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 9:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 9:37 am
The incidents took place at the Marchmont care home in Kirkcaldy.
The incidents took place at the Marchmont care home in Kirkcaldy.

Nikki Cochrane, while working at Marchmont care home on Bennochy Road, was found to have picked on a resident and stopped him from spending time with a friend, and had even sworn at him.

At a meeting of the Scottish Social Services Council’s (SSSC) Fitness to Practise Panel, the hearing was told that Cochrane openly tried to block anyone from sitting near one resident, and even sang loudly to drown out the resident’s complaints.

When the resident tried to complain about being ignored, Cochrane replied: “that’s because I can’t be ***** listening to you”.

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The incident took place in October 2019, when one resident, whose identity was given as AA in SSSC findings, was repeatedly stopped from sitting near a friend, BB, in the communal area.

Cochrane even encouraged other staff members to prevent AA from sitting next to BB, but they refused to take part.

The SSSC panel heard evidence from three of Cochrane’s colleagues who were concerned about her behaviour when carers were meant to encourage AA’s friendships with other residents.

In summing up, the SSSC panel “considered that the allegations were extremely serious, consisting of abusive behaviour towards a vulnerable service user”.

The panel continued: "You had caused serious emotional harm to that service user, apparently for your own gratification, and had tried to involve your work colleagues in your actions.

"You had acted knowingly and deliberately, apparently setting out to maximise the effect on AA. Your behaviour appeared to the panel to be malicious. The panel regarded the allegations as extremely serious.”

It added: “You appeared to derive pleasure from bullying a vulnerable service user.

"It appeared to the panel that these attitudes would be extremely difficult to remedy. There was no evidence available to them to suggest that any steps whatsoever had been taken by you to remedy your behaviour.”

In advising that striking Cochrane off from the SSSC register was the only option, the panel concluded that she had failed to treat the resident with respect and dignity in what was effectively his home.It said: "Your behaviour had caused significant distress to him.

"He had been reduced to tears on several occasions, was very upset, had to retreat to his room, had asked to leave the home, and had asked other carers to make a complaint on his behalf.

"He was unable to understand why you had picked on him. BB had also been distressed. Your work colleagues had also been distressed by your behaviour towards AA, and colleague ZZ had been reduced to tears.

“The panel considered that the behaviour represented an extremely serious abuse of trust. AA was in his home.

"You were employed to care for him and to ensure that he had a safe and caring environment in which he was provided with a competent standard of care.

"Your behaviour ensured that he was deprived of these benefits. There was no good reason for doing so.

"Your behaviour was fundamentally incompatible with professional registration.”