New Jerseyans can now monitor how their loved ones are treated in nursing homes and other institutional care facilities with hidden cameras provided for free by the state.
Want to get a Safe Care Cam? Call (973) 504-6375 and leave a message in a voice mailbox that will be regularly monitored by Division staff responsible for the program’s day-to-day operation. Or call the Division on its toll-free line and follow the voice prompts to leave a message: 1-800-242-5846 .
Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs announced that they’d opened the program to residents who want to use micro-surveillance cameras in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, residences for the developmentally disabled and other care facilities.
“Extending Safe Care Cam’s reach into residential facilities permits more people to monitor how caregivers are treating their loved ones when they think no one is looking,” Porrino said.
The Safe Care Cam program was launched last December to address New Jersey’s growing concerns about patient abuse. Those fears, being played out across the nation, have been fueled by increased media accounts of caregivers caught on hidden cameras physically or verbally assaulting innocent patients and residents.
The Safe Care Cam provided “insight to what really goes on when nobody is supposedly watching” and gave her family reassurance that their mother was receiving the care they had hoped and expected she would, the woman said.
Regency IHS of Windsor Duval, LLC and Regency Integrated Health Services, LLC has been sued because an employee at the facility posted videos on the internet that show someone smearing feces on her body and face allegedly taunting the woman with a feather as she smeared her own feces on her face.
83-year-old Mary McCaughan filed the lawsuit alleging negligence. Chandler McCaughan — the son of Mary — cites Windsor Nursing and Rehabilitation Services of Duval for allegedly failing to report the incident to law enforcement and their family.
The lawsuit says Carlos Alberto Santa Cruz, a certified nurse aide at Windsor Nursing and Rehabilitation Services of Duval, is “a despicable human being who proved himself to be someone who has no business caring for another helpless and defenseless human being.” He allegedly photographed the woman’s naked body and posted video on Snapchat showing someone smearing feces on her. A Snapchat photo shows someone tickling the woman’s nose to make her touch her face with her hand, KVUE-TV reported in March.
The lawsuit also accuses the nursing home of negligently hiring Carlos Santacruz. The lawsuit claims Santacruz should not have been hired to work at the nursing home because he has a lengthy arrest record which includes drug charges, criminal mischief and fraud. As a result, the lawsuit alleges more people at the nursing home were at risk of being “abused.”
Chandler McCaughan removed his mother from the nursing home after the incident. In a previous interview with KVUE, he said he hoped the District’s Attorney’s Office would step in to hold the nursing assistant accountable.
Rather than notify authorities, the nursing home “lied, denied and covered up the abuse.”
See articles at KHOU and American-Statesman.
The Minnesota Star Tribune reported the tragic case of Allene M. Hookom who suffered severe burns and died after falling into a tub of scalding laundry water, according to a state Health Department report that faults the home’s staff for leaving a laundry door open and unattended.
A week before the incident, a family member spoke to a facility representative about Hookom’s safety in connection with her wandering. The family member said “the facility assured her the resident was still appropriate to live there and she would be safe,” the state report read.
Hookom, who generally relied on a wheelchair to get around, was spotted three times that day approaching the end of the hall where the laundry room was and was sent away each time.
Eventually, Hookom walked through the laundry room’s unlocked door and ended up on her back in the uncovered concrete catch basin, where hot water drains from a washer hose.
A nursing assistant found an alert Hookom face up in the accumulating hot water about 3 p.m. and heard her faintly calling for help.
Hookom suffered second-degree burns to her back, waist, buttocks, legs, ankles and feet, leaving some of her skin bright red and peeling. The water was kept at that 155-degrees to disinfect the laundry. She died the next afternoon at Hennepin County Medical Center.
State Health Department investigators found that the operators of Auburn Manor were negligent when the 90-year-old resident, known to wander unsupervised throughout the facility, ended up on her back in a few inches of 155-degree waste water on Dec. 31.
The state is now investigating a local nursing home days after a Channel 9 investigation exposed allegations of abuse. [Nursing home faces lawsuits after employee pleads guilty to sexually assaulting patient].
The Channel 9 investigation aired Thursday and by the weekend, state investigators were at Lake Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Indian Trail. Eyewitness News anchor John Paul went back to the facility looking for answers. Paul talked to new family members who said they’re concerned about some of the conditions they’ve witnessed there.
Before this investigation, two lawsuits were filed on behalf of residents who are now deceased. The suits alleged sexual assault, poor treatment and untimely death.
According to Nursing Home Compare on the Medicare website cms.gov, Lake Park is a one-star facility owned and operated by PRINCIPLE LONG TERM CARE, INC tha tis on the Special Focus facility watch list. On January 15, 2016, the facility was fined $132, 600 and then again on November 2, 2016 for $277,052.
A website called EverythingZoomer had an interesting article on why violence persists in nursing homes. The author used the tragic case of James Acker as an example. Acker was viciously attacked by another resident with dementia at at St. Joseph’s Villa nursing home. The beating left him black and blue and bleeding from the head; his family was told he only had a 50 per cent chance of surviving.
A CNN study found that between 2013 and 2016, more than 1,000 nursing homes in the United States were cited for failing to report or mishandling allegations of rape, sexual abuse or sexual assault. According to the report, three-quarters of those cases involved residents abusing other residents.
NJ.com reported that Todd Fulton, a nursing home caregiver has been charged with sexually assaulting an elderly female patient. A grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging Todd Fulton with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and official misconduct for his alleged attack on a resident of the Geraldine Thompson Nursing Home.
Fulton was a certified nursing assistant at the facility, which at the time had been owned and operated by Monmouth County.
The investigation started on April 4, 2015, after a female patient said she had been sexually assaulted by a staff member, the prosecutor said. Administrative staff at the nursing home contacted Wall Township police, he said.
The Herald-Standard reported the assault of a nursing home resident by a certified nursing assistant. Ryan M. French worked as a certified nursing assistant at Havencrest Health and Rehabilitation Center nursing home. French was charged with
assaulting a 75 year old resident.
Township police Officer Robert Tekavec said he was called to the nursing home on Jan. 28 to investigate the alleged assault. Police alleged French assaulted the man because he took French’s Red Bull energy drink. In a statement to risk management director at the facility, French said that the man swung at him first, according the affidavit filed with the case.
Tekavec indicated in court papers that the alleged victim had buttons missing from his shirt and red marks on his neck, face, arms and leg. When he talked to the alleged victim and his daughter, Tekavec wrote, the two were initially reluctant to press charges.
Sexual assaults are among the most severe cases against residents of nursing homes. However, it is also the least detected, reported, and acknowledged type of problem in this institution. The University Herald reported on a new study that found sexual assault is prevalent in nursing homes. However, this issue has been very under-reported to the point of being ignored. The study observed 15 past studies in peer-reviewed journals that focus on the topic of sexual assaults on nursing home residents.
Moreover, white females suffering mental and physical conditions are more likely to be victims, since they are the most vulnerable. The study, published in “The Gerontologist” found that these sexual assaults happen because legal examinations aren’t done regularly due to administration complexities, Eureka Alert reported. Training and institutional policy in these nursing homes are also major problems that propagate the cases of sexual assaults. Ultimately, nursing homes are not equipped adequately to stop these sexual assaults.
The study suggests that nursing home staff should have more training to help them identify and handle these sexual assault cases. The study’s authors said there is a gap in knowledge about sexual assaults, which is why staff should be trained.
According to Monash University’s Daisy Smith, who is also the lead author, there is a lot more that is needed to be done for those that are most vulnerable in these nursing homes. Regulatory investigative personal doesn’t have the right resources to properly identify and handle these cases of sexual assaults in nursing homes, said Smith.
MassLive reported the case of certified nursing aide Parkpoom Seesangrit- guilty of rape for a May 2014 crime at the East Longmeadow Skilled Nursing Center. Assistant District Attorney Lee Baker said Seesangrit digitally penetrated the 69-year-old victim’s vagina. She was on the dementia unit at the facility and Seesangrit was a certified nursing assistant.
Seesangrit testified through a Thai interpreter he was changing a diaper for the victim and cleaning her, but did not digitally penetrate her. He acknowledged he told an East Longmeadow police sergeant he used two fingers to penetrate the woman. Seesangrit said he never touched the woman sexually.
He said he was aware of the nursing facility’s policy that men could not render care to female patients but he chose to change the woman anyway.
Seesangrit admitted his guilt when questioned by an East Longmeadow police sergeant but then denied he did anything inappropriate.
He has been sentenced to up to eight years in prison.