Articles Posted in Physical Abuse

Samantha Grover, a Certified Nurse Aid, pled guilty to a felony for punching an 87-year-old man in the face and pushing him onto the ground. On October 18, 2016, the judge sentenced Grover to weekends in jail for four months, followed by five years of probation. In addition, her nurse aide license has been revoked.

On October 17, 2015, Grover, then an employee at James Square Health and Rehabilitation Centre in Syracuse, New York hit a nursing home resident in the face and then pushed him – causing him to fall onto a piece of furniture. The elderly victim, whose name was not released, suffered from impingement syndrome of the right shoulder and a rotator cuff strain. Witnesses reported the attack to the James Square administration, who then notified the police. After working at the nursing home for four years, Grover’s employment was terminated.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the Health and Human Services Department, has issued a rule that will prevent nursing homes receiving federal funding from requiring resident’s to sign admission agreements with arbitration clauses. An arbitration clause is a clause in a contract requiring parties to resolve issues through the arbitration process, therefore depriving the resident of his/her right to bring a lawsuit against the nursing home. These clauses have forced claims of sexual harassment, elder abuse and even instances of wrongful death from being handled in an open courcourthouset.

The fine print of arbitration clauses have also prevented disputes on resident safety and quality of care from being publicly known. This rule will provide new protections to 1.5 million nursing home residents. The agency’s new rule is the most significant overhaul of rules regarding federal funding for long term care facilities, restoring millions of Americans their right to pursue action in an open court.  The rule applies to pre-dispute matters, allowing the parties to a dispute the opportunity to seek arbitration after a dispute arises. Continue reading

Attorney General Eric T. Schniderman announced the arrest and arraignment of four former nursing aids in Oswego, NY on September 15, 2016. The aids were arrested for cases regarding nursing home abuse at two Oswego nursing homes. All four aids were charged with misdemeanors and felonies for taking “undignified” photographs and videos of residents at Pontiac Nursing Home and St. Luke Health Services; both facilities have strict policies forbidding cell phone use.  A.G. Schneiderman stated that residents of nursing homes and their families deserve peace of mind knowing their loved ones are being properly cared for and respected by their caregivers. He continued to say recording residents for amusement is a “blatant violation” of residents trust and privacy in a place they call home.

In one case, nursing aids Matthew Reynolds and Angel Rood, former employees of Pontiac, took demeaning photographs of a resident using an iPhone. A.G. Schneiderman said there were multiple pictures showed Reynolds and Rood lying in bed with the resident and touching them in a “taunting and abusive manner.” John Ognibene, Administrator at Pontic fired both aids immediately. Ognibene stated the staff at Pontiac is educated in patient rights during orientation as well as at their annual inservice training. Inservice training reviews the restriction using cell phones, social media and taking photographs of residents. Ognibene continued to say any violation of the policies or implementation of them is unacceptable. Continue reading

A Buffalo nursing home is under investigation after a resident-on-resident fight resulted in death at Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  The fight began when 83 year old Ruth Murray accidentally wandered into a male resident’s room; both residents suffered from dementia. Murray suffered a punctured lung, multiple facial fractures, a lower back fracture, a broken neck and bruising from the fight. She was transported to Eerie County Medical Center where she passed away two days later.

The nursing facility issued a statement on the incident giving their condolences to the family and that they have been cooperating with authorities to conduct a thorough investigation. They continued to say they strive to provide a supportive, caring and safe environment for all residents. The incident is being investigated by the New York State Department of Health as well who declined to give a statement due to the pending investigation. Buffalo Police Department is also conducting an investigation; no charges have been levied at this time. The family retained an attorney, who is assisting with the investigation.

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helpNew York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced the arrest of nursing home counselor, Jack Stanley, for alleged sexual abuse of 2 residents at the Northeast Center for Special Care. Both residents involved suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Also known as “Northeast, ” the facility specializes in the care of brain injury, spinal cord injury and those requiring ventilator care.

Between September 2014 and February 2015, Stanley was employed by Northeast as a “Neighborhood Counselor” to assist new residents with activities and acclimation to the facility. Stanley allegedly used his position as a means to maintain contact with the two residents and forcibly performed sexual acts, including oral sex, on both residents.

“Committing sexual abuse against vulnerable New Yorkers is deplorable, and the allegations in this case are incredibly disturbing,” said Schneiderman. “We will not allow individuals to exploit their role as caretakers in order to take advantage of those they are meant to protect. Those who commit acts of sexual abuse will be punished.” As a resident of a nursing home in New York State, all residents have the right to “be free from verbal, sexual, mental or physical abuse.”

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A study published June 14, 2016 in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that at least one out of five seniors residing in a nursing home has experienced resident-on-resident abuse. Reports of resident-on-resident abuse were tracked over a period of one month in New York nursing homes through interviews, observation and incident reports. Of the 2,0111 residents included in the study, more than 20% (407 residents) said they experienced such abuse over that month. The research found verbal abuse was ranked highest followed by assorted instances such as invasion of privacy and menacing gestures, physical abuse with incidents of sexual abuse accounting for a small percentage.

Several factors had an impact on the amount of abuse experienced, for example residents in a dementia unit with a greater nurse aide caseload reported higher rates of abuse. Dr. Mark Lachs, researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine stated most of the aggressive acts that occur in a nursing home are due to community living. Residents often suffer from dementia or other neurodegenerative illnesses and are being forced into communal living areas for the first time in decades, which are often triggers for people suffering from these illnesses.  Dr. Janice Du Mont, a public health researcher at the University of Toronto suggested families of patients with dementia or patients prone to violent behavior should look for nursing homes with rooms or units set aside to prevent triggering aggressive acts. She also suggested touring facilities to see if the space feels adequate or overcrowded. Continue reading

A Nursing Home Aide in Cortland, NY has pleaded guilty to stealing a credit card from one of the patients under her care. Hope Pearson, a Certified Nurse Aide at the Crown Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Kellogg Road in Cortland, pleaded guilty to criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a felony. Pearson, and codefendant, Schenekqua Carter activated the resident’s credit/debit card and illegally charged over $5,000 on the card after checking it’s available balance. The women used the card at multiple locations including a casino and numerous different stores and ATM’s.courthouse

Pearson’s sentencing is scheduled for October 4, 2016. Carter entered a similar plea and was previously sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution. The state Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case. Nursing home residents are amongst our state’s most vulnerable citizens, and they deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity by those in charge of their care. For a certified nurse aide to steal from someone whose wellbeing is their primary responsibility is reprehensible. Nursing home professionals who seek to profit by stealing from defenseless residents will be held accountable,” said NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

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On Friday night July 1, 2016, Michael Adagba, a security guard at the Verrazano Nursing Home, Staten Island punched an elderly Alzheimer’s patient. The 83 year-old elderly resident was apparently trying to leave the facility when Mr. Adagba hit her. The resident suffered multiple injuries including bruising and swelling to her face, head and body. The security guard faces charges of felony and misdemeanor assault and harassment.

In addition to the criminal charges against the security guard, the security company and/or the nursing home may also face civil liability for the injuries suffered by the resident, as well as potential sanctions from the department of health.  The security company  / nursing home could be liable for failing to properly train the security guard, negligent hiring of the security guard, and/or depriving the resident of his/her rights under federal and state law as a nursing home resident.

According to federal guidelines, all nursing homes must develop and implement written policies and procedures that prohibit mistreatment, neglect, and abuse of residents. §483.13(c) Each resident has the right to be free from abuse. Residents must not be subjected to abuse by anyone, including, but not limited to, facility staff, other residents, consultants or volunteers, staff of other agencies serving the resident, family members or legal guardians, friends, or other individuals. §483.13(b)

A study published June 14, 2016 in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that at least one out of five seniors residing in a nursing home has experienced resident-on-resident abuse. Reports of resident-on-resident abuse were tracked over a period of one month in 5 urban and 5 suburban New York nursing homes through interviews, observation and incident reports. There were 2,011 residents included in the study. 407 (more than 20%) said they experienced such abuse over that month. The research found verbal abuse was ranked highest followed by assorted instances, including invasion of privacy or menacing gestures, physical abuse and incidents of sexual abuse accounting for a small percentage.

fightSeveral factors had an impact on the amount of abuse experienced.  For example, residents in a dementia unit with a higher nurse aide caseload reported higher rates of abuse. Dr. Mark Lachs, researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine stated most of the aggressive acts that occur in a nursing home are due to community living situations. Residents often suffer from dementia or other neurodegenerative illnesses and are being forced into communal living areas for the first time in decades, which are often triggers for people suffering these sicknesses.  Dr. Janice Du Mont, a public health researcher at the University of Toronto suggested families of patients with dementia or are prone to violent behavior, should look for nursing homes with rooms or units set aside to prevent triggering aggressive acts. She also suggested touring facilities to see if there is adequate space or feels overcrowded. Continue reading

On June 2, 2016, two nurses were indicted after being caught on video surveillance ignoring an injured patient at Peninsula Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  The incident occurred in October 2015. A 51 year old disabled male patient fell in the hallway at the facility, injuring his head and jaw.

Nurses Funmilola Taiwo and Esohe Agbonkpolor can be seen on video ignoring the patient for over 10 minutes as the patient crawled on the floor in agony. After several minutes of watching, Certified Nurse’s Aide Emmanuel Ufot was seen dragging the patient by his arm into his room. 25 minutes later, the patient is seen crawling back into the hallway bleeding profusely from his head and jaw injury while Taiwo and Agbonkpolor stood by watching. Ufot is then seen dragging the patient to his room for a second time by the collar of his gown, twisting it around the patient’s neck. Continue reading

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