Articles Posted in Sexual Abuse

Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center received 36 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on April 9, 2020. The West Islip nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of four surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not prevent sexual abuse. Section 483.12 of the Federal Code provide nursing home residents “the right to be free from abuse, neglect, misappropriation of resident property, and exploitation.” A December 2017 citation found that Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center did not ensure that right for one resident. The citation states specifically that a Certified Nursing Assistant witnessed a resident “expose his penis and place” a female resident’s “right hand on his exposed genitalia.” The citation goes on to state that the resident’s records, although they documented past inappropriate behavior, “lacked addressing specific behaviors” for the resident “such as keeping [him] arm’s length away from the female residents.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the resident’s discharge.

2. The nursing home did not adequately treat and care for pressure ulcers. Section 483.25 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing home facilities “ensure that a resident who enters the facility without pressure sores does not develop pressure sores unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable; and a resident having pressure sores receives necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection and prevent new sores from developing.” A November 2016 citation found that Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center did not ensure a resident’s pressure ulcer was assessed after it was identified, nor that a weekly measurement was initiated to monitor its progress. The citation states further that the nursing home did not ensure the review of a physician’s treatment order so as to guarantee the appropriate treatment of the pressure ulcer. In an interview, the facility’s Director of Nursing Services stated that the facility’s Registered Nurse Unit Manager should have initiated the Wound Assessment and Progress Record, and further that the physician who had cared for the resident had “since resigned.”

Berkshire Nursing & Rehabilitation Center received 26 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on March 27, 2020. The West Babylon nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of four surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not implement adequate measures to protect its residents from sexual abuse. Under Section 483.12 of the Federal Code, nursing homes have a right “to be free from abuse.” A September 2019 citation found that Berkshire Nursing & Rehabilitation Center did not ensure one resident was free from sexual abuse. The citation states specifically that a “cognitively intact resident… inappropriately touched” a resident with “severely impaired cognition,” and that the nursing home did not launch an investigation “until 2 days after the incident.”  A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the suspension and re-education of the Nursing Supervisor found to be responsible “for failure to communicate.”

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The Grand Pavilion for Rehab & Nursing at South Point received 32 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on March 20, 2020. The facility has also received two fines: one 2016 fine of $8,000 in connection to findings in a 2013 inspection that it violated health code provisions regarding resident rights and administration; and one 2011 fine of $10,000 in connection to findings in a 2010 inspection that it violated health code provisions regarding pressure sores. The Island Park nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of seven surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not adequately protect residents from nursing home abuse. Under Section 483.12 of the Federal Code, nursing homes have a right to “be free from abuse, neglect, misappropriation of resident property, and exploitation.” A March 2019 citation found that The Grand Pavilion for Rehab & Nursing at South Point did not ensure one resident’s right to freedom from sexual abuse. The citation states specifically that a “cognitively intact resident… inappropriately touched another resident… who was assessed as having impaired cognition.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the placement of the first resident on one-to-one observation until he could be “discharged to another appropriate facility.”

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The Enclave at Rye Rehabilitation and Nursing Center received 34 citations for violations of public health laws between 2015 and 2019, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on November 29, 2019. The Port Chester nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of four inspections by state surveyors. The violations they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not thoroughly investigate an allegation of abuse. Section 483.12 of the Federal code states in part that nursing homes must provide evidence that all allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or mistreatment are thoroughly investigated, and that the results of these investigations are reported to the proper authorities in a timely manner. An October 2018 citation found that The Enclave failed to properly investigate a resident’s allegation that she was sexually assaulted while sleeping. The citation states that there was “no documented evidence that the facility completed a thorough investigation of the resident’s allegation,” specifying further that there was no evidence the facility timely obtained interviews and statements from staffers who may have had knowledge of the events surrounding the alleged incident. Records show that in response to the citation, “the investigation was re-opened and reported to the Department of Health.”

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Elder abuse is a growing problem in America that often goes unreported. According to a recent article in NPR, healthcare workers and government regulators are failing to report cases of suspected elder abuse to local authorities. The article analyzes a recent report by the Office of Inspector General which found that despite evidence of abuse or neglect severe enough to warrant medical attention, healthcare providers rarely alerted authorities. Under both federal and state law, healthcare professionals are legally required to report cases of suspected abuse.

Elder care advocates are unsurprised by the federal agency’s report, saying that elder abuse is widespread and unreported in the United States. The report only further confirms the severity of the elder abuse and the indifference to tackle the problem. One study relied upon by the federal agency that authored the report analyzed nursing home residents who end up in an emergency room. The researchers looked for potential signs of neglect or elder abuse, such as head injuries, body bruises, bedsores, or any diagnosis that may indicate sexual or physical abuse.

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The family of an incapacitated woman impregnated by a nursing home worker is seeking $45 million in damages relating to the brutal assault of their child. According to the lawsuit, medical exams show the incapacitated nursing home resident had been raped repeatedly over the course of two decades. In addition to the long-running sexual assaults, it is likely the woman was impregnated by nursing home staffers before the crime made national news earlier this year at Hacienda Healthcare in Arizona.

According to her lawyer, staffers at the healthcare facility were shocked when a 29-year-old patient went into labor last December. The patient, whose name was not released by news organizations, has been severely incapacitated since almost drowning when she was three-years-old. The legal filing describes her medical issues as severely debilitating – “She cannot maintain sitting without assistance. She is unable to stand/walk… [She] does not make eye contact nor does she smile.” She needs assistance for routine daily activities such as showering, using the toilet, and dressing herself.

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Victims of nursing home abuse and industry stakeholders gathered in Washington this month for a Senate hearing on the nursing home industry. In addition to hearing testimony from the families of nursing home abuse, the federal legislators sounded the alarm over a looming fight over Medicaid funding. According to Skilled Nursing News, the Trump administration will propose its plans to convert Medicaid funding into a “block-grant model.”

According to proponents of the new model of funding, Medicaid spending has spiraled out-of-control and the federal health insurance scheme is no longer sustainable. Instead of continuing with the current open-ended model, the federal government will fund a predetermined amount each year for a state’s Medicaid program. The amount will likely depend on the number of Medicaid beneficiaries in the state, among other factors. The idea for overhauling Medicaid’s open-ended funding model into a block grant system has been favored by Republicans for a long time and finally reached a fever-pitch during the Affordable Care debate in 2017.

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New York State is proactively training nursing home staff how to be “better whistleblowers” whenever nursing home abuse or neglect is suspected. Describing the training as “the first of its kind” across the country, The Buffalo News said the New York Department of Health trained nursing home workers on submitting reports with important details, which include the “time and location of the alleged infractions” as well as any possible witnesses or other relevant information. The health department, which is responsible for overseeing nursing homes in New York, encouraged filing these “comprehensive complaints” in certain situations such as when the nursing home lacked adequate staffing, when important medical devices are malfunctioning, or anything else that puts the health and safety of nursing home patients in jeopardy.

Currently, anyone can file an anonymous report with the state health department. While staffers are obligated to report some instances of nursing home abuse under the state’s “mandatory reporter” laws, elder care advocates say this law is difficult to enforce. The state also prevents nursing homes from retaliating against any employee who files a report or cooperates with an investigation against the facility.

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The Senate Finance Committee examined the “crisis” of nursing home abuse in an emotional hearing this month. Families of abused nursing home patients told their tragic stories and frustrations with the lack of government oversight. In one of the testimonies before the Senators, Maya Fischer tearily detailed the sexual assault her mother suffered at a five-star rated nursing home in Minnesota. According to prosecutors who later charged a nursing home staffer for the rape, the predator had been suspended three times by the nursing home while they investigated sexual assault allegations. In two of these instances, the nursing home staffer who attacked Fischer’s mother was the main suspect.

Fischer described her “final memories of my mother’s life… watching her bang uncontrollably on her private parts for days after the rape, with tears rolling down her eyes, apparently trying to tell me what had been done to her but unable to speak due to her disease.” According to CNN, Fischer’s mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Fischer says she is now speaking out to prevent her family’s tragedy from occurring to anyone else.

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The police have arrested a nurse who is reportedly responsible for sexually assaulting a nursing home resident who has been in a vegetative state since 1993. According to The New York Times, the nursing home resident and mother has been under the care of Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix since 1993, when she was only four-years-old. The Arizona nursing home said it did not know the woman, who has not been identified by Phoenix police, was pregnant. Upon the birth of her child, police required all male staff members to provide DNA samples. The police then identified the father as 36-year-old Nathan Dorceus Sutherland and charged him for sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult.

Speaking on behalf of the woman’s family, a representative described the woman as possessing “significant intellectual disabilities” and is only able to move her limbs, head, neck and respond to sound. The representative called for a full investigation into Hacienda HealthCare and the staff responsible for the woman’s care. State legislators have not wasted any time in responding to the horrific abuse that occurred at the nursing home. On January 30, the nursing home came under new ownership. Earlier in January, the two doctors responsible for the woman’s care and the CEO of the facility were removed from their positions.

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