Episania Fitzgerald was charged with abuse and neglect of an elderly person when she decided to leave her post as night nurse at an assisted living facility. Fitzgerald told the sheriff’s office investigating the matter that she left the assisted living facility with another resident in charge to provide home health care services elsewhere.
Fitzgerald was gone for more than two hours, leaving the 21 elderly residents completely unattended. During, nurse Fitzgerald’s leave an 88-year-old resident fell on the bathroom floor requiring paramedic assistance. It is unknown what, if any action the facility will take as discipline for this nurses inexcusable behavior.
This incident demonstrates the importance of selecting a well staffed facility. It is important for families to specifically ask how many nurses, physicians, and CNA’s are on duty throughout each shift. While state and federal laws set staffing minimums, it is generally not a good idea for any one person to be solely responsible for the care of a large number of residents.
Read more about this situation involving nursing neglect here.