Hidden Video Camera in East Hartford Nursing Home Records Six Weeks of Elder Abuse
Written by Jeff Meyer on November 17, 2015
One of America’s fasting growing industries is nursing homes for the elderly. In fact, there are currently over 16,000 such locales in the United States. But this growing industry has brought with it an increasing number of cases of elder abuse.
Elder abuse, or the willful physical or emotional abuse or neglect of a senior citizen due to their perceived inability to maintain a defense and their visible and understood vulnerability due to age, is a phenomena impacting as high as ten (10%) of all elderly individuals in the entire United States, with these percentages likely much higher for elderly individuals in long-term nursing home care facilities according to some experts’ arguments.
Moreover, in light of growing national concerns over elder abuse and in light of case-specific suspicions, a number of family members of elderly individuals have faced unreasonable difficulties in protecting their elderly relative from harm.
Ellis Manor Nursing Home in Connecticut and the Secret Videotaping of Elder Abuse by a Concerned Resident’s Daughter
In 2013, the daughter of an 88-year-old resident at Ellis Manor noticed that her geriatric mother visible minor lacerations or scratch marks during consecutive visits. Concerned, the daughter ask nursing home staff members to look into the suspicious injuries on multiple occasions, flatly refusing to acknowledge her concerns without evidence to support an otherwise exaggerated response to a few innocuous scratches. When overnight visits interfered with her work schedule, the daughter went back home, yet the scratches returned. So, the daughter went about garnering evidence, potentially illegally under Connecticut law but recently gaining protection in other states, by way of surreptitiously recording her mother’s life at the Ellis Manor nursing on video camera.
The scratches, in this case, were first mentioned to the staff at Ellis Manor as early as 2013 with the specific statement of suspected elder abuse
- Lacking any formal answers from Ellis Manor, with visible injuries continuing to appear, and the daughter facing repeated demands by Ellis Manor to substantiate any abuse claims with evidence, the daughter began her video recording in July of 2015
- Allowing for six weeks of documented footage, the daughter’s surveillance revealed her mother being physically thrown on a bed and left without her medically necessary oxygen respirator, with the video showing staff members taunting the asphyxiating elderly patient. The daughter immediately sought out state elder protection authorities with the videotape in mid-August of 2015
- While Ellis Manor ultimately did fire eight (8) employees at the site, the daughter now faced bureaucratic indifference from state investigators, who upon learning of the videotaped abuse, instructed the daughter to mail in a complaint for later review
- Once finally investigating claims of abuse as reported by Ellis Manor per law in October of 2014, only then did state investigators examine the footage and other evidence. At the outcome of the investigation, Ellis Manor faced twenty-two (22) violations of elder laws in the state.
- The daughter has since moved her mother to a new nursing care facility, and the state of Connecticut is still conducting its investigation into the incident
Know Your Loved One’s Risk Factors for Elder Abuse
As since the case in Ellis Manor, patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are among the most frequently targeted for abuse. One study found that as high as forty-five (45%) of patients with dementia were abused by their caregivers in a single survey sample. The most common form of ill-treatment towards the elderly is verbal abuse, followed by neglect and physical abuse, as the most frequent methods of elder abuse. However, contrary to the roles in the Ellis Manor case, the vast majority of the time, elder abuse comes from family members. While there are laws that protect these abused senior citizens, a recent case in Hartford, Connecticut raises questions about just how much, or if at all, these laws are being enforced when an elderly patient’s safety is indubitably in jeopardy.