Physical Abuse Discovered in Alabama Nursing Home

By Nursing Home Law Center

Alabama

A Hoover, AL nursing home caregiver has been arrested for allegedly mishandling and slapping an 80-year-old bedridden resident. Filed charges against the 28-year-old employee Taneka Kiera Hopkins of Pinson include second-degree elder abuse. Hoover police Captain Greg Rector found the accused’s actions to be “appalling, awful and disturbing.”

Having been released from her employment as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), Ms. Hopkins worked at the South Haven facility located on Old Columbiana Road for over a year.

The police chief had indicated that members of the male patient’s family suspected abuse at the facility and made contact with Hoover police. The victim suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and is incapable of caring for himself. In addition, he is unable to speak and remains frail, bedridden and helpless.

According to the police, the abuse occurred on August 13, 2014. At that time, the police department launched an investigation to gather evidence to issue a warrant for Ms. Hopkins arrest. As a part of the investigation, police located visual evidence that can be used against the suspect. As a result, an arrest warrant for the accused was issued.

Ms. Hopkins arrived at the Jefferson County Jail to avoid being taken into custody and is currently being held on a $15,000 bond. This is not the first time that Hopkins has been arrested. In 2011, she was arrested and charged with domestic violence. However, the charge was eventually dismissed.

At this point in the investigation, the police are unsure what fueled Hopkins to act as she did against the elderly patient. According to the police captain, the South Haven nursing home remains cooperative during the investigating procedure.

A Common Problem

Abuse against the elderly in nursing facilities occurs in many forms, which are not always evident by noticeable signs. Common forms of nursing home abuse cases involve:

  • Physical Abuse – Any type of physical force used against the victim causing harm is considered physical abuse. In addition to slapping, biting, shoving, scratching, hitting, tripping or any inappropriate use of physical restraints can be considered physical abuse.

  • Emotional Abuse – Nursing home residents are often the victim of emotional abuse when caregivers, family members or other residents humiliate, intimidate, terrorize or ignore the needs of the elderly individual. This includes scapegoating, demeaning behavior, or blaming.

  • Sexual Abuse – Any form of nonconsensual sexual contact in a nursing home or assistant living facility can be considered sexual elder abuse. Many times, the elder is sexually abuse because they were coerced, tricked, forced or manipulated in participating in some form of sexual contact.

  • Financial Exploitation – Stealing and elder’s personal property or money are just two of the most common types of elder financial exploitation. The abuse can happen when other residents, family members and caregivers pressure or trick the senior citizen into divulging valuable information or providing access to credit card numbers and bank accounts. Financial exploitation can also happen when the elder is coerced or forced to modify a trust, will or deed.

  • Neglect – Any type of neglectful action in the nursing home can cause serious harm to senior citizens. In addition to abuse through physical, sexual, emotional or financial exploitation means, elderly individuals can be abuse through neglect when the medical staff provides lower standards of care. This might include neglecting the resident’s hygiene and medical needs or some other type of abuse that poses serious dangers or risk of harm.

While it is often challenging to take legal action against abusers of the elderly, usually filing a claim or lawsuit is the quickest solution to stop the mistreatment and prevent other residents at the home from becoming victims. If the individual appears in immediate danger, it is essential to remove them from the facility as quickly as possible.

Read more about laws and rights applicable to nursing home and hospital patients in Alabama by visiting our page here.

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