A former aged care nursing assistant who pleaded guilty to slapping four elderly residents with dementia has been sentenced to an eight-month Intensive Correction Order – but she’s avoided jail time for the assaults.
26-year-old Asmita Pandey worked at Estia Health in Epping New South Wales – where her employment has since been terminated – and assaulted four residents with dementia between December 2021 and March 2022.
Joan Murray, Jill Woods, Catherina Harrison and Therzina Morrison were abused by Ms Pandey when they were being “loud” or “uncooperative” while getting ready for bed or showering.
“The victim (Ms Murray) was being uncooperative, [Pandey] sat the victim on the bed and with an open hand, slapped the victim across the face then placed the victim into bed,’’ a police report stated.
Another report detailed that “A few minutes into showering the victim, the victim started screaming, which was normal for her to do while showering her,’’ after a co-worker saw Ms Pandey slap Ms Woods while preparing her for a shower during a night shift.
Now, after Ms Pandey pleaded guilty to each charge on January 30, her sentencing has been completed, headlined by the eight-month Intensive Correction Order.
She will avoid jail time, but will likely be placed under home detention, adhere to curfews and wear electronic monitoring. Ms Pandey will also have to perform 30 hours of community service work.
Meanwhile, a two-year Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) means she is not allowed to approach or contact any of the victims, nor can she visit any location where they live.
Estia Health has previously apologised for Ms Pandey’s actions, stating that “the safety and well-being of our residents is our foremost priority… We do not tolerate any form of abuse or mistreatment of our residents”.
Although Ms Pandey is no longer employed by Estia Health, her name is not listed among 14 others on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s Aged care Register of banning orders which would prevent her from working in aged care in the future.
As Ms Pandey is in Australia on a working visa from Nepal, it’s also unclear as to what will happen in the long term for her.
Deb Gurung, Vice President of Non-Resident Nepali Association Australia (NRNA), told SBS Nepali that all healthcare workers need to follow Australian law to prevent incidents like this from occurring.
“There are a lot of Nepali people working in the aged care industry, and this is not the first time something like this has happened,” Mr Gurung said.
“I hope this type of incident will not be repeated.
“As per my understanding, healthcare workers are given training before employment. At the same time, working with different types of patients might be stressful sometimes, but I think one should be patient.
“We will raise awareness about this kind of issue, but it is also largely common sense. We should learn from our mistakes and move forward.”