Shocking Elderly Patient Abuse an Increasing Problem at US Nursing Homes
Written by Jeff Meyer on September 23, 2015
News media is circulating a shocking story in which a nursing home aide was charged with abuse in Boonton Township, New Jersey recently. Certified Nursing Assistant, Corazon D. Mangona, was arrested on August 25, 2015 after police conducted an investigation stemming from two reported cases of nursing home abuse at the Merry Heart Senior Care Services facility on August 5, 2015. The criminal complaints were filed in Morristown Superior Court, Mangona’s charges are four counts involving hand slapping and mouth squeezing on one patient, as well as hair pulling, and nipple pinching inflicted upon another patient.
Unfortunately these types of charges are not uncommon. A CBS News report tells the story of 75-year-old Helen Love, who was attacked at the Valley Skilled Nursing Home in California by a Certified Nursing Assistant that choked and beat her causing bruises, a broken wrist, and dislocated neck. The nursing home then attempted to cover up this undeniable case of nursing home abuse by using in-house doctors to say that Love sustained no injuries. Fortunately, her son Gary Love, threatened to call the police if he could not take his mother to the nearby hospital. Her severe injuries were then immediately identified by a local hospital with the woman ultimately having to undergo painful neck surgery due to the assault.
Common Types of Abuse Reported in US Nursing Homes
According to a two year tracking study by the Investigation Division of the House Government Reform Committee of US nursing homes conducted over a two year period, an astonishing 1 in every 3 facilities had reports of sexual, physical, or verbal abuse, or neglect likely to cause serious harm to the patients. Common findings of nursing home abuse in the government report include:
- Physical abuse by a staff attendant such as slapping, kicking, punching, choking, or other violet assault to the elderly patient likely to cause bodily harm
- Staff using physical restraint on a nursing home patient in violation of federal laws
- Sexual molestation and sexual abuse of elderly patients by attendants
- Humiliation of an elderly nursing home patient, such as shaming incidents occurring when the patient has soiled his or her clothing, thus inconveniencing otherwise paid staff members tasked with handling these and other requisite tasks
- Overmedicating patients causing preventable falls likely to cause bodily injury
- Neglecting to prevent patient on patient sexual or physical abuse
- Neglecting to provide proper food and drink causing malnutrition and dehydration
- Neglecting to treat bedsores, which left untreated can reduce blood flow and cause death in elderly patients
What to Do If you Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
As the recent news stories and reports indicate, patient abuse in nursing care facilities is rising. Anyone who witnesses or suspects nursing home patient abuse of any kind should report this to the patient’s family and/or local police as well as the County Prosecutor’s office. The Merry Heart Senior Services Care home in New Jersey and the Valley Skilled Nursing home in California are just two of the thousands of elderly care facility where patient may be at risk of abuse since the statics are 30% of eldercare facilities in the US reported nursing home abuse cases. The report and arrest of perpetrating care home assistants results in a more diligent watch on a particular facility, so reporting any suspicion of patent abuse can help prevent injury to additional elderly patients.
Nursing home abuse lawyers are often needed since the ownership of an elderly care facility can be difficult to track otherwise in order to hold the correct company accountable. Families of elderly patients who were abused in a long term care facility through assault, neglect, or other maltreatment may file a nursing home abuse lawsuit seeking damages such as for the pain and suffering of their loved one or medical or funeral costs on behalf of the justice for and dignity of their institutionalized family member. Legal firms as well as police and government protective agencies are especially important in nursing home patient abuse cases since a facility may try to downplay or cover up a violent or neglectful incident involving a patient.