Minnesota Nursing Home Attendant Faces Criminal Charges after Alleged Abuse
Written by NHAbuseGuide on September 25, 2015
A Minnesota woman now faces multiple criminal charges stemming from a nursing home abuse incident at the Lutheran Home elderly care facility in Belle Plaine located in Scott County. Wanda Bea Poston, age 55 of Prior Lake, now faces charges of disorderly misconduct involving an elderly individual, as well as charges of criminal neglect of an elderly individual. The charges stem from other staff members reporting an ongoing pattern of abuse perpetrated by the Poston in relation to an elderly Alzheimer’s patient. Specifically, Poston stands accused of physically assaulting, verbally abusing, and sexually humiliating the 86-year old Alzheimer’s patient during an incident in which Poston was required to wash the resident.
More shocking, however, is the fact that the allegations contained in the Scott County criminal affidavit note that this conduct occurred in the presence of multiple other staff members. The witnesses, including at least two other staff members employed as nursing assistants and a social worker at the Lutheran Home facility, allegedly witnessed Poston threatening to assault the man by way of deodorant spray to his face, yelling at the resident repeatedly in a hostile manner, and then proceeding to “wash” the patient’s genital area in a manner that was clearly not commensurate with any reasonable standard of care for bathing patients. The incident was referred to the Belle Plaine police department, who conducted an investigation three days later resulting in the arrest of the nursing home attendant.
Poston now faces two gross misdemeanor charges, which carry a maximum penalty of two years of incarceration. Nursing home officials at the Lutheran Home facility have confirmed that Poston is no longer employed at the elderly care facility.
Problematically, in many nursing home abuse cases, clear-cut incidents of criminal abuse stem from an ongoing pattern of non-professional conduct perpetrated by a single staff member, which escalates over time. More problematically, however, is the failure of nursing home officials to provide clear oversight and monitoring mechanisms to identify and stop patterns of abusive or potentially abusive behavior as they emerge. In this case, like many others, the victim of the perpetrator’s abuse is likely not alone in their victimization, but rather, the presence of other staff member witnesses resulted in the reporting of the an ongoing pattern of abuse.
The following items are abuse in a nursing home or elderly care situation, and as such, if found to be present in a given case, should be referred to an attorney to determine whether these less than obvious instances of abuse warrant legal action including:
- Emotional abuse, including belittling the patient, harassing the patient, using abusive or threatening language towards the patient, and attempting to coerce the patient to perform actions by way of yelling or other hostile language that he or she refuses to do
- Psychological abuse, including the use of excessive force or any other pathway in which the physical vulnerability of elderly patients is exploited by caregivers in a non-criminal manner, but clearly out of line with normal standards of care
- Verbal abuse, including any aspects of threatens, intimidation, use of abusive language, or yelling
- Sexual abuse, including acts involving the genitals of a patient during the course of bathing or dressing which are inappropriate, including acts done to humiliate or demean a patient
These less than obvious cases are frequently warning signs of pending future instances of clear-cut cases of criminal abuse, but in fact, the aforementioned are most likely criminal acts of abuse in their own right, depending on the case.