Two certified nursing assistants (CNAs) at the Barnwell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a 228-bed facility located in Valatie, New York, were caught on camera taunting and abusing an elderly dementia patient in August 2013. According to a New York State Department of Health investigation report, the two CNAs kicked, hit and yanked at dolls that the dementia patient carried; he believed that the dolls were his grandchildren. The video shows the elderly resident becoming visibly upset and starts kicking at one of the CNAs, who then runs into a closet while laughing. The resident then began kicking at the closet door.
After conducting an internal investigation when the resident’s son complained about the incident, the facility concluded that the CNAs failed to “maintain an environment that protects the resident from abuse, neglect or mistreatment.” While the incident occurred on August 19, 2013, the facility didn’t notify the DOH or the police until a week later. Moreover, even though the facility terminated both of the employees over the incident, one of the CNAs continued to work at the nursing home as a private aide. As a result, a high-functioning resident reported that she saw the CNA taunt the dementia patient again by “hitting and throwing” his dolls. An administrator told investigators that she had instructed her staff not to allow the CNA back into the building. Moreover, DOH investigators revealed that the dementia patient was never assessed by staff members for physical or psychological harm after being taunted.
In another instance, a CNA threw a bedpan at a resident twice. On August 24, 2013, a CNA was helping a resident who suffered from spinal stenosis go to the bathroom in a bedpan. After the CNA adjusted the resident’s body, the resident became upset and threatened to throw the bedpan at the CNA. After the CNA said, “go ahead, I dare you,” the resident picked up the bedpan and threw it at the staff member, who then threw the bedpan back at the resident. The resident then tossed the bedpan back at the CNA, who threw the bedpan at the resident for a second time. The CNA then walked out of the room. The facility reported the incident to the DOH three days later.
A third incident involved a resident who was diagnosed with clostridium difficle (C-diff), a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea. Over a period of six days, the 84-year-old resident had diarrhea 13 separate times. Not only did staff members fail to administer medications to alleviate the condition, they also failed to notify the physician of the patient’s worsening condition. After family members finally complained, the woman was transferred to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with dehydration, severe C-diff, and sepsis. The resident died shortly thereafter. The DOH concluded that the resident suffered “actual harm” as the result of receiving inadequate care.
According to the “Nursing Home Compare” website, the Barnwell Nursing facility received a much below average rating. The facility also received much below average ratings for health inspection results and staffing levels.