Judge Michael Edwards sentenced Jason Harold Knox, 30, to a year in jail on two second-degree felony charges of aggravated abuse of the elderly or disabled. Knox also abused an 89-year-old female patient.  Edwards first sentenced Knox to two 1-to-15-year sentences but suspended them and imposed the jail time. Knox also will be on probation for 48 months. A surveillance video caught him in the act.

Bingham had placed a video camera in her father’s room at Chancellor Gardens, capturing incidents in which Knox slammed the dementia patient into the wall beside his bed and plunged his elbow into the victim’s abdomen.

“I suspected abuse but I didn’t know how bad it was,” said Bingham, of Syracuse, an elementary school teacher.  “I started to see some things, but Alzheimer’s disease makes it hard to tell,” she said. “He is withdrawn sometimes, and maybe it was the Alzheimer’s getting worse. So it took me a while to figure out what was going on.”

Her father, Richard Crossley, has Alzheimer’s disease and can no longer walk or speak. The Vietnam veteran and retired jet maintainer at Hill Air Force Base  Bingham said he became afraid to go to bed at night.

“They just don’t take care of these people like they need to,” Kellie Bingham said before the sentencing of the aide who roughed up her 71-year-old father last year at a Clearfield assisted-living center.

The judge said Knox must never work in health care again and will be subject to drug testing. The state probation office also may require him to undergo moral reconation therapy and anger management treatment.  Knox had pleaded guilty in return for two other charges being dropped.

She said “silly laws” are slanted in favor of assisted living homes and their staffs. For example, she was required to post a sign in her father’s room before she was allowed to place the video camera.

“Who knows how long it went on,” she said of Knox’s behavior. “He thought the camera was unplugged.”

 

Bingham said she and other family members since have been contacting patients’ rights advocates and state legislators about getting more protection for vulnerable patients.

 

WCVB had an interesting article on the need for regulations and standards in assisted living facilities especially consumer protections because residents lack rights afforded to other tenants and should be covered under regulations in the attorney general’s office.  Thousands of complaints are filed against assisted living facilities, with many focused on staffing issues and a lack of training. Residents often also face an array of fees, for everything from laundry to TV and incontinence products.

Matthew Albanese, head of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), told the Committee on Elder Affairs that there’s evidence that the state’s aging population served by assisted living facilities needs stronger protections that are afforded under landlord-tenant laws.

Lawmakers and elder advocates are also focused on the ongoing contraction in the nursing home industry, where closures are displacing residents and workers. The Senate’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal calls for a task force to examine the industry, an idea first put forward in the House budget.