Letter from Mandi Gould

To whom it may concern,

I would like to raise the case of Ida Johansson, a friend of ours, who is suffering physical, mental and emotional elder abuse at the nursing home she lives in.

As a friend of Ida, I am writing as representative of a group of international advocates who have spent time with her and who have seen what is happening. We are objective observers and believe what is happening is illegal and violates Ida’s (and the other resident’s) human rights. We are seeking your help.

I have outlined the case, and include a supporting letter from a friend who has most recently spent time with Ida.

Ida Johansson is 92 years old. She suffered a stroke in June 2012. Her husband and daughter denied her post-stroke rehabilitation. She was transferred to the Levinsgården nursing home in Gäddede, the village she lived in.

  • Ida has not yet had any stroke rehabilitation treatment. She is regularly abused.
  • Ida, and the other patients, are made to lie in bed most of the time. Their rooms are sound proofed and no physical or mental stimulation is provided. Doors are sometimes locked and there have been instances where residents have been restrained.
  • Patients are left to urinate and defecate on themselves in bed. They are often unassisted despite calling for help and left to lie in it for hours at a time.
  • Ida and the other residents are strongly medicated, to the point of senselessness.
  • Since September 2014, Ida has been given 7.5mg of Imovane daily. Imovane (a sleeping tablet) can be highly addictive. It is also potentially lethal for a stroke victim who suffers from sleep apnea. Ida’s communication has become increasingly incomprehensible as the dosage of Imovane she is being given has increased.
  • Ida Johansson’s general health is not being maintained. For example, She has untreated skin and toenail infections.
  • Ida is forced to stay in bed all day and night, which is causing her physical pain.
  • Ida’s oral health is not being maintained. She has lost teeth, has dental pain and now finds eating difficult. The risk of developing an infection which could be life threatening for a 92 year old is one which must be taken seriously.
  • Ida’s pain is such that she cries and screams.
  • Patients spend most of their time in bed. Bed rest is contra to recommended stroke rehabilitation. They have no physical or mental stimulation; the dark rooms they stay in bring on depression and feelings of loneliness.
  • Staff do not converse normally or socially with Ida or any of the residents. They ignore Ida and the other patients. They talk over top of them, as one might talk about an animal or an object. Staff show no respect to their residents.
  • The only social time residents at Levinsgården have is at meal time. However meals are eaten in silence. Only one member of staff is present, and visitors are made to leave.
  • Ida is regularly excluded from the church service on Sundays because staff define her enthusiastic singing as ‘disruptive’.
  • Ida is treated as though she has no mental capacity; her expressions of like or dislike, assent or objection, fear or happiness are disregarded.

What a number of people have seen at Levinsgården breaks both Swedish and EU law, and violates the basic human rights of its residents.

Ida Johansson’s husband, Gösta, is her legal spokesperson, however he is unable to understand her attempts to communicate with him, which upsets her deeply. Her diminished communication skills are mistaken for poor cognitive skills.

Ida is being supported by her son, Calle, who has been trying to advocate on her behalf since her stroke. However, the village has ostracized him for challenging the practices at the nursing home.

Calle has been working for two years to alert the authorities to his concerns about the way in which Levinsgården is treating residents. He has not yet had a satisfactory response to his concerns.

Reports have been made to the relevant local authorities. However, we have experienced threats and harassment from Levinsgården when reports have been made. The nursing home denies our claims, and says it acts upon IVO (the Health and Social Care Inspectorate, part of Socialstyrelsen) reports. However, without follow-up, unannounced visits by inspectors, further investigation or rigorous, ongoing supervision, the situation remains unchanged.

The local and municipal police will not consider the case. Calle and a family friend, Maeve Hunter (who is currently staying in Gaddede) have been threatened by the Kommunchef (Municipality Mayor), and harassed by local people and staff for trying to alert the authorities to the ongoing problems.

Having taken as many routes as we can think of to improve the lives of the vulnerable older people at Levinsgården, we are seeking your help. If you could see what is going on there on a daily basis, you would be as appalled and upset as we are. Nobody should require protection from those who claim to provide care, be they health care professionals, ‘good man’ or family.

On behalf of our group, and more importantly, on behalf of Ida Johansson and the other suffering residents of Levinsgården, we thank you in advance for whatever help and attention you can lend to this situation.

Yours sincerely,

Mandi Gould, citizen of Canada

Maeve Hunter, citizen of the United Kingdom

Elliott Donnelley, citizen of the United States of America

Lorenz Ilg, citizen of Switzerland

Buddy Steves, citizen of the United States of America

Chachi Geraldes, citizen of Canada