Elder Abuse and Neglect News

Written by NHAbuseGuide on July 26, 2015

Elder Abuse and Neglect News

In a story that has become altogether too common, a nurse in a Kansas nursing home has been charged with felony abuse to one of his patients. While charged with this severe felony, the individual pled guilty to a lesser charge of mistreatment of a dependent adult and will be sentenced for this crime in September of 2015.

Elder and nursing home abuse of the disabled are issues that have a startlingly high rate of occurrence, and even the experts say it is impossible to get accurate figures because a lot of it goes unreported. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) says, “We simply do not know for certain how many people are suffering from elder abuse and neglect.”

Some patients do not report their poor treatment or abuse because they cannot (as in the case of patients with dementia or who are unable to speak), because they are afraid (reporting abuse at the hands of caregivers will leave them open to further abuse or without care at all), and because they may even fear repercussions of other kinds.

However, there are always signs that the family can watch for and use to make a judgment about the quality of care or if some sort of abuse or neglect is occurring. For instance, in the Kansas story, an elderly female patient was left on the floor for more than 45 minutes. The registered nurse in charge of her care – who had also put her on the floor – nor anyone else, attended to this patient for the greater part of an hour.

How was this discovered? The family of the patient was concerned about the woman’s behavior and condition and had secreted a video camera in order to see if their suspicions had any validity. Many bruises and signs of obvious distress made them feel that something was wrong, and so the hidden camera was able to prove their worst fears.

Understanding the Issue

It is important to understand that no nurses or nursing home staff can easily get away with such behaviors. There are protocols, and reporting, and many of the other staff on duty would have realized that a patient was lying on the floor. In fact, a television news report on this particular case showed that more than one nurse repeatedly abused the patient, physically and verbally. Two CNAs were also noted for being abusive to the patient.

The television investigation explored precisely what should have happened to the CNAs and the nurse – apart from criminal charges. They discovered that the CNAs were not facing criminal action and that the state investigation should have triggered a report to the appropriate agencies, the result being that the names of the CNAs should have been tagged with reports of abuse. At the time the case was investigated, though, two of the workers’ names were not on the official lists of cited workers. In other words, there were yet to be professional repercussions for their abusive actions.

The administrator in charge of the facility was also not punished for failing to report or take action to prevent abuse. Additionally, the facility was cited in reports, but it too remains fully operational.

What this means for anyone considering nursing home care for a loved one is that they must be proactive about their research. Visit a site, with and without an appointment. Gauge the care that patients receive. Look at the conditions. Even go as far as basing your choice on the smell of the entire facility. If reporting and state cases do not yield accurate portraits of the facilities, as this particular tale proves, it is up to families to do the research needed to discover the safest, healthiest, and most well run sites. If you discover your loved one has been abused, get in touch with the authorities and an attorney promptly.

Sources

KAKE.com. Former Andover nursing home… http://www.kake.com/home/headlines/Former-Andover-nursing-home-employee-pleads-guilty-to-mistreatment-313354751.html

NCEA.com. Statistics/Data. http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/library/data/

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