Tessie Weigetz, a caregiver at Santa Maria Senior Citizens Home, only received one year of probation after pleading guilty to assaulting a resident in her care. The family of the victim, Gerald Small, said he developed a fear of staff shortly after arriving at the home and complained of physical abuse. That prompted the family to secretly install video surveillance which captured images of the assault in his room.
Following the sentencing, Small’s daughter, Lori Hallas, said change is needed in long-term care. “While nothing can undo what has happened to our loved one, we hope that this case will serve as a deterrent to other people who work in the care industry, and that it will raise awareness that the system, as it stands, needs improvement,” she said.
Medical records showed Margaret Warholm, 74, reported losing 30 pounds in a year and had compression fractures in her vertebrae. She also had a large bedsore on her back that could have been prevented with proper staffing and care. See article at CVTNews.
SouthCoastToday had an article about the sad situation involving the theft of a special piece of jewelry from a resident. Peter Brightman bought the silver-gold Channel ring with 12 tiny diamonds for his wife, Jane. Peter asked out his future wife, then Jane Pereira, in 1969 when he returned after serving a year in the Vietnam War with the Navy. The two married in October 1971.
The purchase happened more than a decade ago, but Brightman, remembers the experience vividly. The ring cost $500 on sale, and they couldn’t take it home that day because it had to be sized. From the moment Jane got it home and tried it on, it was a mega-hit. “Jane wore the ring 24/7. It never left her hand,” Brightman said.
Jane, who had dementia, was a resident of the Island Terrace Nursing Home in Lakeville. The ring was among the jewelry stolen from her and other Island Terrace residents between late April and mid-May of this year. According to court documents, Alisha M. Martin, a certified nurses’ assistant, is charged with six counts of larceny from a person over 65 and six counts of receiving stolen property over $250, court records say. She has a Sept. 14 trial date.
As he visited Jane, almost every day, Brightman said he always thought about removing the ring from her hand, because of her dementia. He thought that the ring could be lost because of her weight loss — and there also was a fleeting thought that it could be stolen. “I never did … I never had the courage to do so,” he said.
It wasn’t until he heard one of the other residents in the four-person room crying, saying someone had tried to take the rings off her hand while she was sleeping, that he realized the ring had been stolen. Police would later confirm that the theft had happened the night before. The guilt he had felt for not removing the ring turned to anger, he said.
Wisconsin’s Leader-Telegram reported that Angela Dixon, a registered nurse at Ladysmith Nursing Home, is expected to be charged with several felonies for reportedly stealing nursing home medications for her personal use, according to Rusk County officials. Dixon admitted that she stole medications for patients for her personal use over the past three months and replaced those medications with over-the-counter drugs or water pills, according to court records.
Police are suggesting numerous felony charges, including theft, possession of narcotic drugs and abuse/neglect of patients and residents of the nursing home. According to court records:
Ladysmith police were notified by nursing home officials on Aug. 13 of a possible theft of narcotic drugs and voiced concerns that patients may not be receiving their prescribed medications.
Surveillance footage from Monday night and Tuesday morning indicated “suspicious activity” involving Dixon, a night nurse with access to patients’ medications.
Dixon told police she took 12 oxycodone tablets from patients’ pill containers during that shift, replacing them with anti-nausea and water pills. She said she also had stolen unknown amounts of vicodin and tramadol, pain relievers, during the same several months, replacing them with Tylenol and melatonin, a sleep medication, because she is addicted to pain medications.
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Arbitration may have its place with businesses of equal footing so they can resolve future business disputes but it was never meant to shield negligent nursing home companies from the community’s sound judgement.
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In a big victory for nursing home residents, Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed measures into law that would allow nursing home residents to put cameras in their rooms to protect against abuse and neglect, and prevent fraud and waste.
The bill was backed by Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and will allow nursing home residents to put cameras in their rooms if they pay for them. The effort comes as the Illinois Department of Public Health receives roughly 19,000 calls a year alleging neglect or abuse in nursing homes, and the bill specifies that the footage could be used in court.
Nursing homes will be required to post a sign at main entrances warning that rooms could be electronically monitored. Everyone living in a room would need to consent to a camera being installed. If one resident of a shared room wants a camera and the other doesn’t, the resident who wants the camera would be moved to another room.
Legal guardians and family members would be able to give consent for residents whose mental condition prevents them from giving it themselves. A physician would need to determine whether the resident is capable of consenting.