A third person has died, three days after a caregiver suffered a fatal fall following a Christian Bible study at a long-term care home in Nova Scotia, according to the provincial Health Department.
The new death was announced Friday evening on social media accounts for the Campbell Memorial House residence where Sarah Ball, 49, was attending the session.
Police said Friday that detectives are investigating Ball’s death. Hospital officials announced that a male nurse attending the group fell and suffered a fatal head injury at the home Wednesday.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Ball had a heart attack during the Bible study on Wednesday. A hospice nurse gave her oxygen and administered chest compressions until paramedics arrived.
The coroner’s office has been told of the nurse’s death but has not been officially notified, said Dr. Frank Fierting, regional coroner. The name of the nurse will not be released until he or she is discharged from the hospital, Fierting said.
“We are considering all the evidence in a timely fashion. We cannot provide a final determination while that’s being considered,” he said.
Officials at the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the care home are also investigating.
Doug Burns, the minister of health and social services, had no further information to add to a statement made earlier Friday.
“Our thoughts are with the Campbell Memorial House community as they cope with the terrible loss of one of their own,” Burns said in the statement.
“There is no reason to believe the residents or their loved ones would have any additional safety concerns at this time. Our staff and the hospital have been involved with the residents to offer support, and there will be many investigations going on right now.”
Federal, provincial and local safety officials have been investigating since Tuesday afternoon, officials said. The public health authority in Nova Scotia has set up two drop-in support and referral centres and will continue to do so throughout the weekend.
Mary Burbidge, a spokeswoman for the provincial government, said there was no specific threat to residents.
“From what we’ve seen so far, we don’t have an indication that anyone could have been targeted or was in any danger,” she said.
The second victim, Florence Callister, 78, died late Thursday at the Delbarton Community Centre, close to where she lived with her husband, Gordon Callister, 78.
He was identified as a patient at the Campbell Memorial House and an active member of the Delbarton Parish.
She was described by her family as a kind, wonderful, talented and generous person who loved to spend time with her family, friends and pet. She had overcome a very long illness, her family said in a statement.
Kenny Hadsall, CEO of The Seasons Center for Elder Care in Old Town, said Gordon Callister suffered serious injuries when he fell. It was unclear Friday what the extent of his injuries were.
“He continues to be in our care. We continue to provide support for him, for his family, as his family seek comfort in this time,” Hadsall said.
Jim Whitehead, president of the Alzheimer’s Society of Nova Scotia, told CBC News that Gordon Callister’s grandson told him that he believed he may have been trying to walk away from the group when he fell.
“He actually left them, tried to get the attention of them. And unfortunately fell and was pretty severely injured,” Whitehead said.
The senior homeowners of the Campbell Memorial House facility live in a Christian-based retirement community that boasts of its community bible study every Tuesday. The focus of the daily event is “care that is patient, compassionate and grounded in the power of Christ,” according to the resident website.
“We are sorry to lose people,” Burns said Friday. “In these types of incidents the best way we can be helpful to families is to leave them in the care of the home staff and the staff, as they do the best job they can, of caring for their loved ones.”