BBC exposes elderly being beaten, tortured at PCEA Thogoto Care Home

An investigation carried out by BBC Africa Eye revealed how vulnerable people are being mistreated and neglected in an elderly care home near Nairobi.

In the secret footage, it was seen that the residents were being physically mistreated by the staff members, their food was being directly dumped on tables and not served on any plates, and their medical conditions were being left untreated.

“Hit her on the buttocks. Beat her,” said a staff member while speaking to a stick-wielding colleague. The incidents were taking place at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) Thogoto Care Home for the Aged, which is 20km (12 miles) west of Nairobi.

In the undercover footage, the moments before were revealed in which three staff members, who were seen dressed in purple uniforms, surrounded an old woman with a metal gate which was flanked by corrugated iron sheets at the perimeter of the home’s garden.

“Where were you heading to on that side? You were called and refused to come back,” said one of the staff. The old lady, who was wearing a bobble hat and a fleece, looked frightened and confused.
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“Oh, please forgive me,” the lady said. “Now we have to cane you,” said one of the staff. The staff member was then seen hitting the bottom of the elderly woman with a wooden stick.

The care home was established by the Women’s Guild of the local PCEA church but currently is being managed independently. The care home currently has around 50 elderly women and men.

In the last decade, the number of homes for elderly people is reported to have increased by three-fold in Nairobi. A lot of these places don’t charge rent from elderly people and depend on donations or are supported by local churches.
Secret filming by undercover reporters

In the investigation carried out by BBC Africa Eye, two undercover reporters secured employment at the care home and lived there for 14 weeks while secretly filming inside the facility. Along with the footage of staff hitting the elderly woman with a cane, the reporters also recorded staff accepting that they have been physically abusing other residents.

“Sometimes you have to use force,” a staff member was heard as saying. “Even carers who start being polite, they find themselves being aggressive towards clients,” she said. They also described a man who “is always being caned”.

“We beat him and that is what calms him down. Because if he gets angry, he can even hit you with a rock,” she said.

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