A CARE home is at the centre of an investigation into reports that distressing pictures of vulnerable residents were shared in an online group for the entertainment of staff.
On Monday two carers were arrested after pictures which appear to show the alleged abuse at Cherry Trees Care Home in Lundwood were posted to social media.
Five women, all from Barnsley, were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of ill treatment or wilful neglect by a care worker.
All have since been released under investigation.
The public was also made aware of the existence of a group chat where carers reportedly detailed the mistreatment of its residents.
Relatives of the victims soon found out about the alleged treatment of their loved ones as the photos continued to be shared online.
The family of former Cherry Trees resident Shirley Duffy were ‘horrified’ to learn that she was one of the residents who featured in the pictures.
“We woke up on Monday morning to find a picture of our nanna, curled up in a chair, with a terrified look on her face it was horrifying,” said Shirley’s granddaughter, Leanne Lunn, 38.
“Our nanna was loved by everyone and she wouldn’t hurt a fly, everyone in the area loved her.
“The way she is positioned in the photo was shocking to us, because she would not have been able to get in that position by herself.
“She had Alzheimer’s, cancer, and drop foot which all made her very weak.
“She needed assistance to go to the toilet, and I know that she was put in that position, upside down in a chair because it would have been impossible for her to do that herself.”
Shirley died aged 84 in April, and her family said that memories of her have been ‘tainted’ after the allegations came to light.
“It makes me angry and sad because it is the last image we have of our nanna, and she looks absolutely terrified,” said Leanne.
“We are a close-knit family so we were heartbroken to learn that we couldn’t attend her funeral because of the virus, but this is a lot worse and it breaks my heart to know what her final months were like.
“The person or people who did that to her took advantage of her and abused the power that they have. She was in the home to be cared for in her final years and they took a smiley and happy woman and made her terrified.
“This not the way we want to remember her, but the photo is all I can see when I close my eyes.”
MP for Barnsley Central, Dan Jarvis said he was “deeply concerned” to hear of the arrests and the allegations.
“I am deeply concerned to hear about the arrest of care home staff on suspicion of neglect and abuse,” he said.
“It is absolutely right that South Yorkshire Police conduct a full investigation into these appalling allegations.
“My thoughts are with the victims and their families and what must be an incredibly difficult and traumatic time for them. It is paramount that they are supported throughout this process.”