Egregious Abuse and Concealment by Nursing Home Staff Case Emerges from the State of New Jersey
Written by Jeff Meyer on November 16, 2015
Elder abuse at nursing homes has become a point of national crisis, whether legally, financially, medically, or otherwise. The most visible concerns over vulnerable elderly patient populations relate to the relatively frail, dependent, or often, the disabled nature of nursing home residents. Moreover, nursing home abuse need not be physical either, but may manifest itself in forms of:
- Claims against individual responsible for perpetrating or helping to facilitate the existence of elder abuse in a given nursing facility
- Ninety (90%) percent of nursing home residents have seen another elderly patient be abused by staff or other employee
- Untrained and inexperienced workers jeopardize a patients’ well-being, as the physical fragility of many nursing home residents is high, and as such, any even minor incidents involving an elderly person rightfully an immediate cause for concerns and warrant more than reaching out to relatives of the nursing home facility, as other options are available
- Threats, intimidation, sexual abuse, harassment, or any failure of a nursing home staff member to provide a reasonable why no
- Financial abuse of the elderly is a longstanding issue or regulators, as family members more often than are the culprits of the financial abuse perpetrated against the elderly relative
- In those cases expressing clear malevolent intent, such as criminal intention or total fault, can be done fairly quick in resolution
The Recent Shocking Elder Abuse Case from New Jersey
Recent alleged events at the Voorhees, New Jersey nursing home are just the latest examples of ongoing gross lapses in the care of elderly individuals that tends towards sheer criminal conduct at times. The legal guardian of the late Eleanor Hallowell has filed suit against the South Jersey center after photos revealed that months before Hallowell’s death, the elderly woman was tied to her wheelchair with a bed sheet, in violation of several laws and the exigencies of the situation. Hallowell, 85 years old at the time and in hospice, had fallen out of her wheelchair. In response, an employee ordered that Hallowell receive special attention, which resulted instead in other employees at the nursing home tying and restraining Hallowell to a wheelchair, then abandoning her in the Nursing Home alone. The employee who issued the order was sent a text message with the photo of Hallowell in the wheelchair, indicating clear complicity between all parties in perpetrating elder abuse featuring criminal elements. The Voorhees nursing home has not yet publicly responded to these allegations of abuse, but the company did state that the employee who purportedly tied Hallowell to her chair no longer works at the nursing home facility.
In another incident, Jose Medina, 73, was clothed in women’s pajamas. Medina not only has Alzheimer’s, a severe form of dementia that erodes the memory of its victim over time, but also a disorder called PICA, which causes the victim to eat anything the patient can consume, even clothing. His daughter states that he was recently rushed to the emergency room because he swallowed a piece of plastic that came from an aquarium at the nursing home. He was apparently able to eat it because no one was supervising him.
Studies suggest that over one-half of dementia victims will suffer some form of elder abuse and that Hispanics are far less likely to report incidents of abuse than victims of other ethnic groups. Nearly 12% of elderly Latinos suffered caregiver neglect, as Medina’s daughter alleges happened to her father.
Legal Counsel Can Help Residents and Loved Ones Find Safe Residences Following Incidents of Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes
In cases of elder care lapses, which are most likely instances of elder care and nursing home negligence, concerned individuals should minimally consult with state regulatory bodies or advocacy agencies seeking to protect the interest of elderly individuals, while also considering the potential; utility and role that legal counsel could play in helping protect loved ones in nursing home residences exhibiting suspected or known instances of elder abuse.