In New Hope, Minnesota, two nursing home residents suffered horrendous maltreatment at the hands of at least a pair of facility employees. At the Saint Therese Senior Care Facility, two nursing assistants are alleged to have abused two residents at the facility. Not only have they been fired, but they were arrested and booked, though no criminal charges have yet been brought. To date it has not been entirely revealed what occurred, but the state’s Department of Health is investigating the matter while the city attorney awaits further information in order to make a decision as to whether or not the city should file criminal charges against the workers. This case, albeit in the investigatory stages and lacking clear details, is another reminder of how abuse and neglect can land alleged perpetrators in hot water, and cause tremendous problems for facilities in terms of their own possible sanctions, charges, and loss of reputation and business.
Caught on Camera
This is just the latest news of alleged nursing home abuse and neglect that has been captured on camera, providing evidence to investigators. In this particular instance, these cameras were installed by family members of the allegedly abused resident after noticing possible injuries on their loved ones. According to local reports, the footage captured some type of physical abuse. Only a handful of states thus far have enacted legislation that permits nursing home residents (or their family members) to install cameras in their rooms. Such cameras can catch abuse, as well as record general activity that may indicate a lack of attention or simply negligence by staffers who are supposed to be attentive and take care of the residents.
Notice of the use of these cameras typically must be posted, which could allow for them to act as a deterrent to nursing home staffers who know they are on film and might think twice about how they will treat a certain resident. So long as residents consent (and obtain consent of roommates if there are any roommates), these laws permit use of cameras. Illinois is the latest state to come a step away from making this permissive use of cameras legal, as a bill made its way through the legislature and now awaits the governor’s signature. Other states may follow suit as more and more instances of abuse and neglect caught on camera lead to administrative discipline, civil lawsuits, and perhaps even criminal charges.
To make matters worse, it has been reported that another eight employees were fired from the New Hope nursing home in the aftermath of this alleged abuse. According to reports, some of the firings were apparently a result of those individuals failing to report the abuse that went on. So not only was there abuse, but no one within the facility did anything about it. It took the smarts and resources of the residents’ families to set up surveillance at a facility that should presumptively be taking good care of their loved ones in the first place. Given the abuse and the failure by some to report it, there may be an institutional failure that needs correction. The facility has apologized and vowed to cooperate with authorities.
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