09/11/2013 18:18 EDT | Updated 11/11/2013 05:12 EST

Lobby group stands by allegation mice bit dementia patient

One day after Covenant Health disputed claims that a dementia patient was bitten on the face by mice in a Lethbridge, Alta., care home, Friends of Medicare says it has proof the incident did occur.

The national lobby group alleged Monday that mice had nibbled on a dementia patient Sept. 1 at St. Therese Villa in Lethbridge.

The facility is operated by Covenant Health, a Catholic organization that has service contracts with the provincial health-care provider.

Although a mouse was spotted in the room, a representative for Covenant Health said Tuesday that a medical examination of the patient shows no evidence of animal bites, suggesting instead the patient may have a viral condition.

But Friends of Medicare executive director Sandra Azocar rejected Covenant Health’s findings, saying that her organization has proof the incident did happen.

However, she said, Friends of Medicare wants to protect the identities of the staff members involved, so is unable to provide further information at this time.

Additionally, Azocar said multiple family members with relatives inside that facility have submitted complaints and concerns, indicating there are still other issues to be addressed.

“Unfortunately, Covenant Health has tried to downplay the seriousness of this matter. We do not have confidence in Covenant Health's investigation of an incident in its own facility.”

Fred Horne has asked associate minister of seniors George VanderBurg to tour the homes this fall while holding informal meetings with staff at some of the facilities.