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.

 

Cleveland.com reported that Edward McShaffrey was sentenced to 18 months in prison for sexually abusing a nursing home resident and will be classified as a tier I sex offender. The designation will require him to register with the local sheriff every year for 15 years.

A jury found McShaffrey guilty in December 2016 of gross sexual imposition. The sentence is the maximum allowed for this particular crime.   McShaffrey was a licensed practical nurse at Brookdale Montrose Nursing Home. McShaffrey was seen with his mouth on the 69-year-old’s breast, according to a news release from the prosecutor’s office.

 

The State newspaper reported the ongoing struggle for low paid health care givers in South Carolina.  Low wages, high turnover and burn-out makes life difficult for both caregiver and patient.

The turnover rate among nursing staff at the S.C. Department of Mental Health — which operates hospitals, nursing homes and community mental health centers — was 22 percent in the state’s fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the agency because the pay for those workers lags behind the private sector. The annual average salary for a registered nurse in South Carolina is $61,110, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the average salary for registered nurses who work for Mental Health is almost $8,000 a year less — $53,504, according to the agency. Nurses at community health care centers fare even worse, averaging $49,065 a year.

 S.C. state employees – from law enforcement officers to social workers to mental health workers – are unlikely to get a pay raise this tear. In four of the last 10 years, state employees did not get a raise.  At the same time, their paychecks will shrink because they will have to pay more toward their retirement costs.

Low pay and staffing cuts have led to overworked state employees who cannot provide the care their fellow citizens need.  S.C. agencies have almost 8,000 fewer employees than two decades ago. But those fewer workers are serving almost 1 million more S.C. residents.

Twin Cities reported the arrest of David Erwin DeLong, nursing home employee, for felony criminal sexual conduct after he was accused of sexually assaulting a 78-year-old resident with advanced Alzheimer’s disease at Heritage House in Pequot Lakes.

The criminal complaint outlines the witness statement and DNA evidence gathered to make the case that DeLong sexually assaulted the 78-year-old woman in May 2016. The woman is nonverbal, wheelchair-bound and unable to feed herself, requiring round-the-clock care, the complaint stated.

A co-worker interrupted DeLong committing what she believed was a sexual assault. The staff member said she was the only other person working in the building at the time, and wanted to leave for a cup of coffee between 9:15 and 9:30 p.m. She went to find DeLong to tell him, and noticed the door was closed to the room he was in. She tapped on the door a few times, waited a second or two, and then opened the door.

Inside, the staff member said the resident was lying on her side in a fetal position with her backside positioned outward, naked from the waist down. DeLong stood several feet away sweaty and out of breath, the staff member said, jumping up and down attempting to pull up his pants and underwear. DeLong allegedly turned around and looked at his co-worker, said “I,” but then stopped, shaking his head before turning his back.

The staff member told the officer she was so shocked, she didn’t know what to do. She closed the door and immediately reported what she saw to a nursing staff member working in the next building. That staff member contacted the director of the facility, who directed him to bring DeLong into the office for a conference call. DeLong allegedly denied the allegations during the phone call, and was sent home.

The resident was transported to Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd to undergo a sexual assault exam. While preparing the woman for transport, it was discovered she was wearing a different nightgown than the one the staff member observed when she walked in on DeLong. Staff later located the nightgown and a mattress pad from the resident’s bed washed in the washing machine, and all on-duty staff denied placing the items there.

The remaining bedding, clothing and underwear worn by the victim were gathered and sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis, along with the sexual assault exam kit completed at the hospital.

In June, the BCA issued a preliminary report, indicating semen was identified on swabs taken from the victim as part of the sexual assault exam. In August, the lab issued a final report, which indicated DeLong’s DNA profile matched the one found in the victim’s exam.

 

 

Hall of Fame magazine reported on the abuse at Winters Park Nursing Home.  Minnie Graham is 98 year old and living in Winters nursing home in Texas. One day, she told her family that one of the staff abused her.  The family became suspicious and more concerned when they found black eyes and bruises on Minnie’s face. The nursing home caregivers said that Minnie had fallen out of her wheelchair several times.

The family set up a hidden camera to find out for themselves what was really going on.  What the family saw terrified them.

One of the Winters Park Nursing Home workers, who was identified as Brenna Tiller, was caught on camera, hitting Minnie. She was also cursing and mocking at the elderly woman. While Minnie was screaming in pain, Tiller sprayed water to her face and placed a towel on her mouth. The towel that Tiller put on Minnie’s mouth was the one she used to clean the old woman’s body.

Another worker, who goes by the name Louis, was also caught on camera hitting Minnie. He also punched the old woman.

Louis was arrested while Tiller was convicted for felony with 5 years of probation.

News 12 Long Island reported the arrest of three caregivers from a Uniondale nursing home for neglect that led to the death of a patient.  The state attorney general says two nurses and a nurse’s aide at A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility neglected an 81-year-old by ignoring the ventilator alarm (after it got disconnected somehow) for at least 9 minutes–enough time for him to suffocate and die.

Experts say there is a condition called “alarm fatigue” that sometimes causes nurses and other health care professionals to miss the sound of alarms.

The Hill had an article concerning the accuracy of the information on the federal website Nursing Home Compare.  Experts warn that information about nursing home staffing and quality is not accurate because facilities self-report and inflate staffing while covering up negligent care. CMS is aware that the higher ratings incentivize facilities to inflate their self-reported data.

Despite CMS’s efforts, the Government Accountability Office recently found the online tool does not give prospective patients accurate information. GAO specifically highlighted that facility star ratings should consider the perspective of beneficiaries and allow prospective beneficiaries to compare facilities nationally.

“Facilities boost their overall ratings by reporting information on staffing and assessment, and as a result they get very high star ratings,” said Toby Edelman, Center for Medicare Advocacy senior policy attorney. “There is often very little correlation between what the surveyors document on unannounced public survey and complaint investigations and what facilities self-report.”

 In 2015, Medicare spending on skilled nursing facilities totaled $29.8 billion for 1.7 million beneficiaries at about 15,000 facilities, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. That’s up slightly from 2014, when Medicare spent $28.6 billion.

 

 

 

 

The Chillicothe Gazette reported the guilty plea of Kali Jo Craiglow for abusing one of her patients in March at Westmoreland Place nursing home.  Kali Jo Craiglow pleaded guilty to a single count of patient abuse, a fourth-degree felony. The prosecution requested a 14-month sentence and asked the judge to consider victim impact statements.

The investigation revealed that the female victim was found with injuries and tears to her clothing, as well as with a bloody pillowcase on the floor of her room, after Craiglow, who was a nursing assistant, had been in her room. The police report noted Craiglow had claimed the victim had been belligerent toward her and calling her names. Two of three residents questioned reported being abused by the same CNA.

The New Hampshire Union Leader had an article on how some nursing homes are attracting potential nurse employees.  For example, the Grafton County Nursing Home offers $500 sign-on bonuses and a $10,000 loan-forgiveness program for registered nurses.

John Getts, president and CEO of Home Health & Hospice Care, said they offer employee referral bonuses, professional development and other programs to keep nurses on staff.

“We’re all doing the same thing. We’re all trying to do the same thing to offer incentives to bring people on board,” said Craig Labore, administrator of the Grafton County Nursing Home in North Haverhill.

But there’s one big incentive many providers say they are having trouble offering — health benefits.  Brendan Williams, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Health Association, said the inability to provide benefits is a common problem among those serving elderly patients at home and nursing home settings.

The state community college system is also trying to encourage students to go into nursing. The state’s community colleges are offering two-year associate’s degree nursing students the opportunity to get a four-year bachelor’s degree at Granite State College at community college prices.

This “pathway” program means a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing will cost about $38,000. That compares to more than $57,000 at the University of New Hampshire.

With the loan-forgiveness program at Grafton County Nursing Home, a bachelor’s in nursing could be had for less than $30,000. The program began July 1. Labore said so far, only one student has taken advantage of the program; he expects many more this year. He said the forgiveness programs are more effective than sign-on bonuses.

There are also many scholarship opportunities available. The New Hampshire Long Term Care Foundation awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to 45 caregivers in long-term care centers in 2016 alone. The foundation was established to promote the care and wellness of New Hampshire’s elderly.