‘Model old people’s home’ abused elderly inhabitants: Trouw

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

Inhabitants of a nursing home in Rotterdam featured in a television series on care for the elderly, have been abused by staff and fellow inhabitants in the last year, Trouw has found.

Based on statements from a whistleblower and other documents, the paper says several people living in the Leeuwenhoek home, which looks after dementia patients, were verbally and physically abused.

The home is part of the care group Humanitas which reported one instance of abuse to the health inspectorate last year. What happened specifically cannot be disclosed for privacy reasons but a forensic doctor was called and police involvement was considered, the paper says.

The home was blacklisted by the inspectorate in 2016 but was given a clean bill of health last year. But according to the whistleblower, the abuse continued, and took place away from the cameras.

Trouw’s anonymous source also contacted two geriatric psychologists who, based on documents and photos, judged the treatment meted out to the inhabitants to be ‘inhuman’ and ‘something we have not come across before’.

The paper was told that other external care specialists, such as psychiatrists, doctors and physiotherapists had written to the management of the care home threatening to stop working there because they could not guarantee the safety of their clients.


Family members, who talk of bruises and staff shouting at their elderly relatives, told the paper that complaints about staff behaviour were ignored.

Gijsbert van Herk, chairman of the board at Humanitas, told the paper he ‘recognised’ part of the accusations but that  the problem is being ‘magnified’ because the number of abuse cases is ‘super few’.


According to Van Herk, staff behaviour is a reflection of where the home is situated: in a multi-cultural part of Rotterdam.

‘It’s no excuse’, the paper quotes him as saying, ‘but here things happen which would not take place in, say, a care home in the countryside. There are 160 different cultures coming together in this one home.

‘If you look at the level of care at the Leeuwenhoek from the point of view of a care professional from Maastricht, well, yes, it would not be acceptable. But looking at it from an Antillean standpoint, you wonder what’s the problem?’, he told the paper.

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