Attacks on healthcare staff involving people suffering from Dementia should not be classed as assaults.
That's the view of a former Roscommon Nurse after the INMO told an Oireachtas Committee at least 10 assaults happen at Irish hospitals every single day.
Mary Whelan has cared for her husband who has dementia over the last 15 years.
The retired nurse argues that people with the condition are not able to form the intent for assault and are reacting to their condition.
Speaking to the Joe Finnegan Show, she says that stress of being in a busy Emergency Department can cause outbursts:
So if you're sitting on the bed and I come along to you and come straight up to you and go No what's wrong with you?
Now the person may not understand one word of that and could even think you said they were going to kill you.
So you very likely could give me a nice little slap on the face, but it is not assault.
First of all you have no ability to consider an action or know what you're doing, mostly it is a reaction.