Three nurse’s aides at Beth Abraham Health Services in the Bronx were arrested after failing to notice the elopement of a 64 year old schizophrenic patient in a wheelchair, and then attempting to cover-up the incident. Although police found the man approximately six hours later at a friend’s home, the aides at Beth Abraham allegedly documented that they had checked on him and given him his medication during the period that he was missing.
Title 10 Section 415.12(h) of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations states that “[T]he facility shall ensure that: (1) the resident environment remains as free of accident hazards as is possible; and (2) each resident receives adequate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents.” Clearly, allowing a schizophrenic patient to elope from the facility violates the regulation above. It was the duty of the nurse and her aides to report the missing patient as soon as they were aware of his elopement. That said, what makes the incident much worse is the attempt to cover-up the mistake by falsifying documentation.
Maintaining a safe environment for nursing home residents is a duty and should be a priority for the administration and staff at long-term-care facilities. This is not always the case, however. Diligence must be maintained to be certain that nursing home residents, particularly residents with special mental needs, are cared for in the manner mandated by both state and federal law. Thankfully, in this instance, the NYS Attorney General’s Office investigated and plans to hold those responsible accountable.
Three nursing home aides lied about missing schizophrenic patient in wheelchair: AG, New York Daily News, Kathleen Lucadamo, February 24, 2011