09/30/2011 11:39 EDT | Updated 11/30/2011 05:12 EST

Care home report in Nova Scotia focuses on those with challenging behaviour

HALIFAX - A report launched by the Nova Scotia government after allegations of abuse arose at homes in the Truro-area for the developmentally disabled says risk management measures can be improved.

The Department of Community Services launched an investigation last year of the Colchester Residential Services Society, which provides housing services for children and adults with disabilities.

In the review released Friday, the department says it is satisfied that the organization provides good care for its residents.

"The review team acknowledges that staff can be subject to physical and psychological stress as they support people who have very challenging behaviour," the 19-page report says.

"However, despite these challenges, CRSS staff demonstrate a genuine interest and commitment to these residents."

But the report says the society would benefit from an inter-disciplinary team to provide expertise on challenging behaviour, as well as improved risk management measures.

"The review team offers the recommendations ... as opportunities for improvement that are meant to further strengthen the organization in its mission to support individuals with disabilities," the report said.

The review, which began last November, did not examine complaints of abuse that were investigated separately.

Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse said her department conducted the separate investigation into those allegations of resident-to-staff and resident-to-resident abuse and concluded they were unfounded.

"I'm confident that Colchester Residential Services Society provides good quality care to its residents," she said in a statement.

"We will continue to work with Colchester to ensure people living at CRSS are safe, and that they and staff are getting the support they need from the department."

However, statistics from the province's Worker's Compensation Board say there were 38 instances where workers were harmed by residents at Colchester's seven facilities from 2006 until October 2010, about one month before the study began its work.

The society said it has followed through on some of the report's recommendations already, such as providing more training and education for its staff.

Established in 1979, the Colchester Residential Services Society is a non-profit private organization that is publicly funded. It provides various residential and support services for 45 adults and children.