I hear the term ‘nursing home abuse’ tossed around with such frequency that it would appear the episodes of abuse are literally occurring around every turn. While I would hope that the term is getting misapplied and overly utilized, I’m beginning to think otherwise.
As family and friends of people living in a nursing home, very rarely do we actually see abuse being perpetrated upon our loved ones in public view. While we may have suspicions about the emblems of potential abuse, really determining the source of these suspicions— and a step further– in the criminal or civil prosecutions can be difficult in light of the victim’s emotional or physical state.
Fed up with suspicions of abuse that went ignored, I recently read about how the family of an Ohio nursing home patient installed both an exposed video camera as well as a hidden camera inside the room of their family member during her admission to MetroHealth Prentiss Center for Skilled Nursing Care in Cleveland.
Just two days after the cameras were installed, the cameras recorded what the family had long suspected— their loved one was consistently being mishandled by staff at the facility. Over the course of the next two months, the cameras continued to capture images of staff members rough handling— or dare I say ‘abuse’ of their loved one.
The video recordings have taken on new significance, as they are the main piece of evidence used by prosecutors in the criminal trials of former employees at the nursing home who faces charges related to crimes stemming from the abuse of patients.
In the first trial MetroHealth employees facing criminal charges, the tapes proved to be such a powerful piece of evidence that the CNA, Virgen Carabello has pleaded guilty to seven counts of patient abuse or neglect she was facing. Similarly, in the coming months, other nursing home employees will face similar charges related to their abuse of this nursing home patient.
The content of the video tapes will again take front and center in an upcoming civil lawsuit that the family is pursuing against the nursing home related to the mistreatment of their loved one.
Episodes such as this begin to make me re-question my original statements regarding the overuse of the term nursing home abuse. While I am grateful that the employees responsible for this mistreatment will be held responsible, I shutter to think about the other patients whom may have similarly suffered— but without any recordation.
For laws related to Ohio nursing homes, look here.
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