New York Attorney General’s Office has arrested two nurse aides for allowing an elderly patient with dementia to leave a New York nursing home facility. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the charges against the two nurse aids, Janet Rose and Verlanda Paulma, of White Plains Center for Nursing Care. Both nurses are charged with endangering the welfare of a physically disabled person, and if convicted, could face up to five years in jail.
According to the Attorney General, video footage shows the 74-year-old resident leaving through an unlocked door shortly before 8:00 PM on May 26, 2017. The nurses then neglected to perform the mandatory safety checks on the nursing facility’s residents every 15 minutes. Between 8:00 PM and 9:30 PM, no one at White Plains Center for Nursing Care noticed the resident has left the facility. According to the indictment, Rose falsely recorded that the safety checks were performed during this time period. For that reason, Rose also faces a felony charge of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree.
At 10:00 PM the nursing home finally noticed the elderly man was missing and notified the authorities. Unfortunately, the elderly dementia patient was not found until 3:00 AM – a full seven hours after he walked out of the unlocked doors of the Westchester nursing home. Thankfully, despite finding the resident a full two miles away, he was not injured.
According to Attorney General Schneiderman, “Nursing home residents and their families place the highest level of trust in staff to protect residents. These arrests serve as a reminder of the serious consequences for neglecting nursing home residents – and even more for trying to cover it up.”
Unfortunately, this is not the first problem related to how White Plains Center for Nursing Care treats its residents. According to the New York State Department of Health, the facility has a higher rate of citations than the state average. Between 2013 and 2017, the government agency levied 66 violations against the nursing home. Compared to the state-wide average of 34, White Plains Center for Nursing Care had almost double the amount of complaints.
In the most recent year, the nursing facility had four standard health violations. First, the facility failed to provide sufficient recreational opportunities to some residents, in violation of FF10 §483.15(f)(1). In another violation, the nursing home also failed to sufficiently involve a resident in his or her medical treatment plan.
The facility also received a citation for violation FF10 §483.65, a regulation meant to prevent the spread of infection. According to the Department of Health, this violation occurred when a resident nurse failed to wash her hands after coming into contact with a patient diagnosed with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or a MRSA infection.
The final citation involved inadequate supervision of an elderly and immobile patient. In violation of FF10 §486.20(k)(3)(ii), a nurse failed to effectively monitor a patient for pressure ulcers, or bed sores. Unfortunately, this caused the patient to develop bed sores, which the White Plains Center for Nursing Care then failed to effectively document and treat promptly.