A nursing home aid at The Glenn Hopkins Care Facility in Minnesota was charged with two counts of assault after a hidden camera caught her physically abusing a resident.
The daughter of a resident noticed unexplained bruising on her mother, which led her to set up a hidden camera to record what went on in her mother’s room. Three videos revealed Cecilia Soi, Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA), pulling the resident up from the floor by her hair and then hitting her in the back of the head several times with a hair brush and her hand. The 89 year old resident, who is not able to speak, did not react as Soi repeatedly assaulted her.
The Glenn Hopkins Care Facility is a 14-acre, faith based senior care facility for adults aged 62 and over, formerly known as St. Therese Southwest. The facility includes walking trails, protected wetlands, surrounded by weeping willows, as well as two 24 hour chapels, providing serenity in hopes to deliver its Catholic commitment to physical and spiritual health. The facility has been reviewing its procedures for identifying and reporting abuse due to incidents in recent years. Two years ago, two nursing assistants were fired after family members of the nursing home’s residents set up cameras in their rooms, confirming their suspicions of abuse.
Police Seargent, Mike Glassberg, told reporters the video was disturbing to watch because she was so defenseless and it made him think of his own parents and grandparents. Seargent Glassberg said that while he often sees bad things, this incident was particularly disturbing because the patient was defenseless. Soi has been charged with 4th and 5th degree assault; if she is convicted she faces up to one year in prison and $3,000 in fines for the 4th degree charge and up to 90 days in prison and $1,000 in fines for the 5th degree charge. The facility reported that Soi has since been fired.
Elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes are a bigger issue than most would imagine, which has led to many families setting up cameras in nursing homes to monitor what goes on; these cameras are often referred to as “granny cams”. A 2012 study done by the Department of Health showed that 85% of nursing homes in the United States have reported at least one case of abuse or neglect. A few states are allowing family members of nursing home residents to set up cameras in their loved ones rooms in order to monitor what goes on in these long term care facilities; these states include Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Illinois. Many states are reluctant to allow this due to privacy restrictions. For example, in Maryland, the camera must be directed exactly at the intended resident, in order to protect the privacy of roommates.