A Kingston care home nurse tied a woman with dementia down with a bed sheet to stop her smearing faeces over herself, a hearing was told.

Orlando de la Cruz, who was a registered nurse at Galsworthy House Nursing Home, Kingston Hill, appeared before the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) yesterday facing charges.

He is said to have restrained an elderly woman (referred to as resident A) by tying a bed sheet over her upper body and tying it to the rails on either side of the bed.

According to the charges, Mr de la Cruz’s actions, on the night of January 15, 2011, placed her at risk of harm.

Speaking at an NMC hearing, Mary Ross, the former care home manager at Galsworthy House, said she was called the next day by a staff nurse.

She said: “During the call I was informed that the morning duty staff had gone into resident A’s room and found her top sheet was tied to the bed rail taut across her chest with her arms above the sheet.

It was tied in such a way that resident A was prevented from being able to move from side to side.”

Miss Ross said Mr de la Cruz told her the woman was smearing faeces on her hand and face.

She told the hearing: “He explained he then washed and cleaned her after this incident [but later] found her once again covered in faeces.

“In his statement he said his main concern was her putting faeces in her mouth and at the time had considered steps he could take to prevent her from doing this.

“Mr de la Cruz stated he had tied the sheets loosely around her abdomen in an attempt to stop her smearing faeces over herself.”

Miss Ross said Mr de la Cruz should have stayed calm in a difficult situation.

Kathleen Pines, was the first registered nurse to witness Resident A in her restrained state after being alerted to the situation by two care workers.

She said: “She wasn’t able to move, she wasn’t able to turn.

“She was restricted and she was not able to tell you if she was uncomfortable or distressed. She didn’t look distressed, no, but she was not able to tell you.”

Ms Pines added she did not believe this had happened before and she thought Mr de la Cruz had done it to stop the resident putting faecal matter in her mouth.

At the time of going to press Mr de la Cruz, who was at the hearing but legally unrepresented, had not indicated if he was going to take the witness stand.

When the allegation was made public before the hearing, the care home said it had suspended Mr de la Cruz and dismissed him in March 2011.

A care home spokesman said: “While an NMC hearing is under way it would not be appropriate to comment further, except to say that the health and wellbeing of residents is our absolute priority.”