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Mice found nibbling dementia patient’s face at Alberta long-term care facility

A health-care advocacy group says a dementia patient at a long-term care home in southern Alberta is recovering after a staff member found mice nibbling at her face.

Friends of Medicare says it happened at St. Therese Villa in Lethbridge on Sept. 1.

"We found out that last Sunday ... one of the staff of that facility walked into this resident's room and found mice nibbling on her face," said Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare.

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"The lady was in fact bitten and now she's been medically treated for that ... I'm completely horrified. I think it's beyond words. I can't imagine being that lady who had this happen to her."

The woman also has disabilities and would not have been able to move the mice off her face, Azocar said.

"She's doing OK. Emotionally it impacted her and she's on medication to prevent infection."

Azocar said a nest of mice was found in the woman's closet.

Staff at the 200-bed facility operated by Covenant Health first complained about mice about a year ago, Azocar said. She added the care centre, built in 2008, also has had a bedbug infestation for about nine months.

No one at Covenant Health or St. Therese could be reached for comment.

"It's obvious the situation hasn't been dealt with the urgency it requires. Even though staff have tried to deal with it, there's no overall plan to deal with these health hazards in a more urgent manner," Azocar said.

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"This is so unbelievable that this would be happening in Canada's richest province, that our seniors are having to live under these conditions.

"There is no excuse for this to be happening in Alberta. Absolutely none."

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