CBS Denver reported that Travis Young, a nurse’s assistant, who allegedly threw a dementia patient against a concrete wall, shattering her femur and contributing to her death, went before a judge last week.

Travis Young faces a class six felony assault on an at-risk adult charge, which carries a possible four year sentence if he is convicted.

Young worked in 2014 at the Olathe nursing facility where Charlotte Fischer was placed.  Young had received several complaints for abuse by other residents before the incident occurred.

Fischer’s granddaughter Amy said she never gave up pushing for justice.

“They tried so hard to make it go away – without me knocking on the door saying ‘Grandma didn’t deserve to die like this,’ it probably would have,” Amy told CBS4 in her first interview about the situation.

“You put someone in a nursing home not out of want, out of ‘You have to,’ and you want them to be protected and cared for. You would never assume they would be put in a position where they will be injured or harmed and scared and left alone,” Amy said.

Amy said it took two days before anyone called to tell her there had been an incident. Colorow officials claimed the frail woman — who weighed less than 100 pounds — had hit herself, causing the serious injuries.

“They left her in bed with a shattered femur, with no pain medicine other than Tylenol and they didn’t tell me that she had been injured any other way. They told me that she had hit herself in the head,” Amy said.

Days later, Fischer passed away.

“I can’t imagine the pain she was in for those days they left her there,” Amy said.

Amy says she had a feeling the administrators were not telling her the whole story. She started what has become a three year campaign, pushing the DA to continue looking into the case.

The coroner eventually ruled her death a homicide and a charge has now been filed in the case.

“I’m very thankful there’s finally a day in court,” Amy said.

 

 

WIAT reported that a resident was left alone and allowed to be bitten by ants over a hundred times.  Three employees of Cherokee Health and Rehab nursing home were arrested on charges of elder abuse/neglect after a patient suffered approximately 100 ant bites overnight.

The three women are accused of being responsible for a bedridden patient throughout the night of Sept. 3, 2016, into the next morning, and charting that they each entered the room numerous times during the night, but surveillance video showed otherwise.

According to the video, none of the three women entered the patient’s room for about 11 hours. When the elderly woman was checked on, it was discovered she had suffered approximately 100 ant bites. The women are accused of alleged intentional neglect directly contributing to the patient’s injuries.

The class B felony carries a possible sentence of two to 20 years if convicted.

The Tuscaloosa News reported the arrest of Betty Jean Tubbs who was charged with elder abuse for punching a resident in the face while working at Heritage Health Care and Rehab. Tubbs was a certified nursing assistant at the facility.

She is accused of striking a resident, 71, on the head and punching the resident, causing eye swelling and bruising.

A grand jury reviewed evidence and indicted Tubbs on the felony charge on Jan. 24. She was arrested Feb. 16 and later released on bond.

If convicted, Tubbs could be sentenced to two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $30,000.

 

Brittany L. Fultz was a nursing home employee at The Commons Providence in Ohio. She has been charged with a sex crime after cellphone video showed her dancing provocatively for a 100-year-old dementia patient. Fultz was charged with gross sexual imposition after her coworker turned over the video to authorities.

Another former employee used a cellphone to record Fultz making a provocative advance toward the male resident, said Sandusky police Detective Anthony Bath. He described the advance as similar to a lap dance. He said the resident, who has dementia, made indications that he was not on board with Fultz’s actions.

 

 

 

 

CNN continued its investigation on the epidemic of sexual assaults in nursing homes.  One article called “Six Women. Three Nursing Homes. And the Man accused of Rape and Abuse” explains how a sexual predator by the name of Luis Gomez could terrorize vulnerable residents for years.  The nursing home managers refused to believe the accusations or even investigate them.

One victim told police that the director of nursing at the Brian Center Health & Rehabilitation, Gail Robertson, reacted to the story with disbelief. She told the resident “to go live under a bridge, because nothing like that happened” in her facility, the woman recalled.  This was not the first or last time Robertson covered up Gomez’s crimes.

With four victims just at the Brian Center, police expanded their investigation to anywhere Gomez had worked. The detectives learned Gomez had been the subject of sexual abuse claims reported at several different facilities.  Officers had been called to investigate Gomez as early as 2011 at Smoky Mountain Health and Rehabilitation Center

Luis Gomez moved to North Carolina from Guatemala when he was 40. After earning his CNA certification in 2000, Gomez first worked as an in-home caregiver. Then he was hired by a nursing home called Autumn Care of Waynesville. During the next 15 or so years, he would bounce between Autumn Care and at least four other nursing homes, including the Brian Center.  He’s been married at least three times, and has a reputation for dating other women on the side. Co-workers reported his “flirting” crossed the line, and he got in trouble for harassing female co-workers.

“He’s a real Jekyll and Hyde,” says Linda Gomez, who is in her 60s now and still married to him.  “My personal opinion is he’s not good to be out in society. If he’s going to do it to an older person … he’s going to do it to anyone.”

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services told CNN that all allegations against nursing aides are “investigated, as warranted” and recorded in a state database where potential employers could learn of pending allegations or substantiated findings.

“Unlike law enforcement investigations and criminal cases in which it must be determined that a person committed the alleged offense ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ we must simply find that it is ‘more likely than not’ that a person committed the act,” a representative said in an email.

But all of the complaints against Gomez had been deemed “unsubstantiated,” meaning nursing home and state officials ruled they couldn’t be proven. And because the state only flags substantiated complaints about an employee — a policy that’s consistent across the country — any facility looking to hire Gomez would have seen a record showing a longtime nursing aide with no history of problems.

State investigators, working in conjunction with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, ultimately cited the Brian Center for a litany of problems: failure to protect residents from sexual abuse, failure to inform the alleged victims’ families and physicians, failure to report suspicion of a crime immediately to law enforcement, failure to supervise the alleged perpetrator until he left the facility, failure to assess the residents immediately for injuries, failure to notify the state promptly of allegations, failure to empower staff to call law enforcement.

The facility’s parent company which owns and operates the facility, SavaSeniorCare, said “We took steps to keep all of our residents safe from that point forward,” a spokeswoman said by email.

 

CNN had a heartbreaking article written by Bobbi Young about the rape her mother suffered at a nursing home.

I scanned my mother’s bed, pulled back the rumpled sheets and uncovered her shivering naked body. I stared at her bruised inner thighs, her sheets wet with urine and blood, her catheter pulled completely out of her. I covered her with a blanket and held her close as she pleaded, “Get me out of here.”

I kissed her forehead, our tears mixing, and promised no one was going to stop me. She would not spend another night in this nursing home.
I pushed the call button. No response. I followed the cord to the wall and found it disconnected. My heart racing, I tracked down an aide and demanded that a nurse come to my mother’s room immediately. At 88, she was examined with nonchalance and covered back up.
I called the manager to her room and told her I was taking Mom home.
The nursing staff gathered in force, attempting to convince me that her release was a long process, that my mother could still benefit from their help. Her stay in the nursing home had been a temporary transition needed after being hospitalized with a stroke.
But I knew my mother had been harmed. I feared the worse. And I feared for her life if she stayed there.
I called her doctor to sign a release form, and I phoned a service for private medical transport. I also called my husband and said, “I need to bring Mom home with us today. Go get Daddy.”
At the front door of the nursing home, the management staff lined up to wish us well. They invited us to come back and visit.
“Thank you,” I told them, “but we will never drive by this road again.”
When we arrived home, the driver unloaded my bundled mother and the rain momentarily stopped. I looked up and saw my father, his hand pressed to the window, tears in his eyes and mouthing the words “Mama … Mama’s home.” Married 69 years, my parents experienced every second apart as an eternity.
Once settled in their own bed, Daddy curled up next to Mother, held her hand, prayed with her, assured her she was OK now, home safe. She was still recovering from her stroke, and even though my father sensed some harm had come to her, he didn’t ask. He didn’t want to stress her more. He never left her side.
Over the weeks that followed, my mother complained of pain in her groin area. Doctors increased the doses of pain medication, but she still awoke in anguish, day after day. I finally had to examine her — and my heart sank.
I knew she needed to be seen by her gynecologist as soon as possible.
A nurse practitioner examined my mother and ran tests to confirm her suspicions: a sexually transmitted disease. Had my mother shown these symptoms before, she asked. The answer was no. Had my mother had any sexual partners besides my father in her lifetime? The answer was no.
When I told her about what had happened in the nursing home, the nurse said my father would need to be tested for the disease. My mother was visibly shaken. I asked the nurse, if my father was negative, what would be the next step? She said, you need to call the California Department of Public Health and file a report.
We drove home silently. My mind struggled with how much my mother had been through; now we were minutes away from devastating my father. I asked if she wanted my help in telling Daddy. The answer was yes.
As I spoke, Daddy didn’t hesitate to agree to be tested. Then he asked what all of this meant. What would proving he was negative for the disease mean?
Mama, her voice choked with sadness, replied: “I was raped.”
My father held my mother, crying, shaking his head in disbelief and apologizing for not being able to keep her safe.
I grew up believing my parents were strong and took comfort trusting I would always be safe. They both worked two or three jobs throughout my childhood to buy me and my siblings encyclopedias to enhance our knowledge of the world long before Google existed.
Witnessing this wound inflicted on my parents cut deeply to the core of my own foundation. The hospital had recommended the nursing home as a transitional step; her own internist was the director of the facility: What could possibly go wrong?
There were no warning flags. We failed to protect her against something we could not even imagine existed. A distress signal is only as good as the person who sees it. When I saw it, I took action. But it was too late.
For months, my parents comforted each other, not wanting to be even a foot apart. Their love never wavered; it only deepened. I would walk past their bedroom and see them snuggled tightly together, whispering. My father later told me they were praying and planning to renew their wedding vows on their 70th anniversary.
Beyond the harm the perpetrator had inflicted on my mother, he took a toll on my father’s remaining strength and stole some of the precious time my parents had left. Still, together they decided to fight for reform, which my husband and I fully supported. We filed a civil lawsuit against the facility, arguing that more should have been done to protect my mother. She was brave enough to appear at the center of a public service video created by a nonprofit calling for nursing home reform.
On the day my father died, my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. His painful journey ended 17 months later. But our commitment to choose love and joy enabled Mother and I to embrace our faith and carry on. I promised my husband I would not be sad or bitter. I had promised my father I would care for Mama and keep her safe.
I feared that I would not be able to fulfill those promises.
But there are moments in life that transcend fear. They mend twisted hearts. This became one of those moments.
After my husband’s funeral, all of my mother’s nurturing traits intensified. I had promised to care for her, and now she was providing me with what felt like a second childhood. She took the reins, suggesting remedies such as extra locks on doors and an alarm system to quiet our fears. She reminded me of recipes to help stretch our dollars to survive — such as making “imagination cookies.” When I looked sad, she would talk about funny things my husband did to make her laugh. We prayed together, planned our spring garden, went for drives on hot days with the windows down, hair blowing in the wind, laughing with memories.
I promised my mother I would honor her vow to carry on her courageous battle for justice all the days of my life by telling her story. While her perpetrator will likely never be found, it was one of her last wishes for people to understand that no one is too old to become a victim of rape.
My mother died in January. She was 94. As I walk around my home now, I look at the empty rocking chair in which she soothed her children. I can feel her brushing my long hair. The seedlings she planted in eggshells on Christmas Day are bursting toward spring. I can hear her laughter and her reminder to me: “The gifts God gave you, he did not give to another; respect them and share them wisely. …”
Who was this woman in my life? Why was she made to suffer so?
An answer fills my sorrowful heart:
Suffering can carve two types of people, monsters and angels. I am fortunate to have been raised by angels. And I pray to one day be worthy of that divine fabric that still holds me tightly together — love.

CNN conducted a special investigation into the epidemic of sexual assaults and rapes in nursing homes.  “The unthinkable is happening at facilities throughout the country: Vulnerable seniors are being raped and sexually abused by the very people paid to care for them.”

“It’s impossible to know just how many victims are out there. But through an exclusive analysis of state and federal data and interviews with experts, regulators and the families of victims, CNN has found that this little-discussed issue is more widespread than anyone would imagine.”

“Even more disturbing: In many cases, nursing homes and the government officials who oversee them are doing little — or nothing — to stop it.”

“In cases reviewed by CNN, victims and their families were failed at every stage. Nursing homes were slow to investigate and report allegations because of a reluctance to believe the accusations — or a desire to hide them. Police viewed the claims as unlikely at the outset, dismissing potential victims because of failing memories or jumbled allegations. And because of the high bar set for substantiating abuse, state regulators failed to flag patterns of repeated allegations against a single caregiver.”

It’s these systemic failures that make it especially hard for victims to get justice — and even easier for perpetrators to get away with their crimes.”

“Some accounts of alleged sexual abuse come from civil and criminal court documents filed against nursing homes, assisted living facilities and individuals who work there. Other incidents are buried in detailed reports filed by state health investigators.”

“Most of the cases examined by CNN involved lone actors. But in some cases, a mob mentality fueled the abuse. And it’s not just women who have been victimized.”

“Despite the litany of abuses detailed in government reports, there is no comprehensive, national data on how many cases of sexual abuse have been reported in facilities housing the elderly.”

“More than 16,000 complaints of sexual abuse have been reported since 2000 in long-term care facilities (which include both nursing homes and assisted living facilities),according to federal data housed by the Administration for Community Living. But agency officials warned that this figure doesn’t capture everything — only those cases in which state long-term care ombudsmen (who act as advocates for facility residents) were somehow involved in resolving the complaints.”

“The result: CNN exclusively found that the federal government has cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for mishandling or failing to prevent alleged cases of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse at their facilities during this period. (This includes some of the cases provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.) And nearly 100 of these facilities have been cited multiple times during the same period.  Complaints and allegations that don’t result in a citation, which the government calls a “deficiency,” aren’t included in these Medicare reports. In addition, national studies have found that a large percentage of rape victims typically never report their assaults. So these numbers likely represent only a fraction of the alleged sexual abuse incidents in nursing homes nationwide.”

“Yet the facilities that currently house more than 1 million senior citizens typically pay low wages to nursing assistants (about $11 or $12 an hour), making it difficult to attract and keep quality workers. And during the most vulnerable hours, the night shift, there are often few supervisors.”

The article discusses numerous horrific examples; I encourage you to read the full article.

Legal advocates, government regulators, criminal investigators and medical experts agree that sexual abuse in nursing homes can be extremely challenging to prevent and detect. But they say many facilities should be doing much more to protect vulnerable residents.

  1. “When you have a sexual assault claim, you shouldn’t go to a conclusion she’s a problem patient. You should investigate as a sexual assault until proven otherwise.” — Dave Young, district attorney for Colorado’s 17th Judicial District
  2. “Preserve evidence! Don’t bathe or change clothing, sheets, etc., when an assault is suspected.” — Sherry Culp, Kentucky long-term care ombudsman
  3. “Most abuse is undetected and never reported mainly because observable signs are missed or misinterpreted. A little training could go a long way.” — Tony Chicotel, staff attorney at California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform
  4. “As with nearly every type of abuse and neglect seen in nursing homes, the better staffed the facility the less likely sexual abuse will occur. This is a crime of opportunity, so the more supervision the better.” — Kirsten Fish, elder abuse attorney
  5. “There needs to be a reporting system. …The system doesn’t keep track of cases that haven’t been substantiated, [and] their rules for substantiating a complaint are just astronomical. It’s virtually impossible to substantiate a complaint.” — Lt. Chris Chandler, Waynesville, North Carolina, Police Department

 

 

The Chillicothe Gazette reported that Kali Jo Craiglow who assaulted her nursing home patient in March will spend a year in prison.  Craiglow punched Leona Alexander in the face, thrown a glass of water in her face, and threatened she would get worse once they were in the shower. The assault left Alexander’s eyes swollen and blackened, the skin on her hand torn. Reports on the assault indicate her clothing also had been torn and there was a bloody pillowcase on the floor.

Ross County Common Pleas Judge Scott Nusbaum told Craiglow if it had been his mother, he would want to “jump over this bench,” eliciting sounds of approval from nearly two dozen people in the courtroom.

“You’re going to be placed with inmates that are a lot tougher than an 85-year-old. You may be marked … Don’t allow the stress you’re under to take drugs or join gangs,” Nusbaum told Craiglow. “You’ve committed a horrendous offense, but your life is not over.”

The resident’s daughter, Stacy Williamson, says her mother is constantly scared of being attacked again.

After the beating that Kali Craiglow gave our mother, we had to have someone sit with her all night for several months, and she would call us at all hours of the night because of how scared she was that someone would beat her again … The time she has left is miserable thanks to you,” Williamson said through tears during her victim impact statement in court.

Williamson said she’s just glad to know Craiglow is going to prison for what she did. She urges others with loved ones in nursing homes to check on them every day.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Harry E. Yruegas, caregiver at the Heinzerling Developmental Center on the West Side admitted to raping a 47-year-old, severely disabled female patient at the nursing facility.  Yruegas pleaded guilty to one count each of rape and sexual battery for the assault, which was witnessed by another employee who walked into the patient’s room.  The co-worker told police that she walked into the woman’s room and saw Yruegas on the woman’s bed “with his penis exposed”.  Three employees of Heinzerling reported inappropriate behavior by Yruegas with the patient on three other dates.

The victim has “profound mental retardation” and other debilitating conditions and is unable to walk or speak, Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Rausch told the judge.

In an interview with police, Yruegas referred to the patient as “super cute” and admitted that he had fondled her before the other employee walked in.  He also told officers that he had engaged in sexual conduct with the patient on several other occasions.

 Yruegas was indicted for eight counts of rape and eight counts of sexual battery, with most of the counts based on his interview with police.

 

 

KSPR reported on a proposal to keep residents safe, and to deter theft, fraud, and abuse, by allowing video cameras in Missouri nursing homes.  Under the proposed law, families can choose to put a camera in their patient’s room, at their own expense and would be able to view the cameras at any time.

Supportive lawmakers say families could monitor how much and how often medications are given and how their loved one is being taken care of overall. Rep. Andrew McDaniel backs the bill after his staff says they received hundreds of complaints about abuse, neglect, rape and fraud.

Nursing home lobbyists claim they are concerned about patients’ privacy, and their lobbyists have killed similar bills in past legislative sessions. However, McDaniel says the camera can be turned off during baths or if a patient is exposed.