Like most perspective employees, people seeking a position in a nursing home likely fill out an application, perhaps submit a resume and answer a few questions from the facility administrator or other managerial employee. Pretty simple and matter of fact. In the majority of situations, this tried and true method of seeking employment likely serves its purpose for both employer and employee.
What makes the hiring process unique for nursing home employees is that the fresh hires immediately have access to perhaps the most vulnerable group of people– the sick and the elderly— with just days of their initial hire. Sure, other fields may boast about the significance of properly hiring an employee as they may have access to confidential information— but, when it comes to down to a position where an employee can cause actual harm to a person— few professions can compare to those working in nursing homes.
I once again began to consider the safeguards– or lack thereof– involved in the hiring process of nursing home employees when I read about a truly sickening situation involving a nursing home employee who had ongoing sexual contact with a physically disabled patient that he was responsible for caring for at Highland Chateau Healthcare Center.
While the specifics involved in this particular situation remain under investigation by authorities, for me— the most disturbing part of this incident remains the fact that the accused worker was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior involving a nursing home patient when he was employed at a different facility. Because the worker did not cooperate with the investigation and the victim was unable to communicate, the matter was never prosecuted.
All the more disturbing is the fact that the nursing home employee never divulged the fact that he even worked at the facility where the prior act was alleged to have occurred. In fact, a closer review of this nursing home employees employment file reveals that he failed to mention stints at two additional facilities where he was accused of neglect and physical abuse of nursing home patients— bringing the alleged perpetrator’s number of non-disclosed facilities to a total of three.
In fairness to this alleged perpetrator, perhaps he is indeed innocent of the allegations made against him. Truth is, we will never know. However, I find the lack of transparency involved in terms of hiring, greatly hinders facilities ability to simply confirm this individual’s employment history to be especially troublesome.
In lieu of relying on antiquated, fill-in-the-blank job applications, its time for nursing homes and other healthcare organizations to begin establishing a national database of all healthcare workers simply to allow perspective employers to verify past employment.
Would situations such as this be caught in every circumstance? Likely not, but at least employers would have another tool to assist in protecting their patients from predators who are perversely bounce from one facility to another as they go about their demented ways.
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