Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nurse May Face Charges After Elderly Abuse Allegations

Kansas City

A Shawnee nursing home has fired one of its nurses for elderly abuse, then the home reported him to police on the allegations.

The Sweet Life Nursing Home wasted no time. The employee in question was terminated on Friday, the same day the allegations were made by a co-worker.

Sweet Life cares for 150 elderly patients, many who need full-time care. Police said the fired worker is accused of slapping an 88-year-old man and roughly throwing him into a wheelchair.

On two other occasions the same nurse is accused of pushing an 81-year-old female in the stomach and the next day slapping her with a wash cloth and spraying water into her mouth. A female nurse reported the pattern of abusive behavior to managers who quickly fired the male nurse.

"We take any concerns with our residents very seriously," Executive Director Kim Ellis said. "We have a zero tolerance for any type of abuse, neglect or exploitation of our residents."

The Sweet Life is reporting the suspect's name to the Kansas Department of Aging, that way he'll be on a registry so that if he tries to apply for a job at a different nursing home, he'll automatically be red flagged even if he's never charged with a crime.

"It's my understanding that all nursing homes would check the registry to make sure that all associates do not have that on their file," Ellis said.

Police said elderly abuse can be tough to investigate. In this case, the victims suffer from dementia.

"They're non verbal, they can't express themselves when they are being abused and they may not even be aware of the fact that they're being abused," Ron Copeland with Shawnee Police said.

Detectives and Sweet Life managers said it was critical that another nurse stepped forward.

"They're one of the most vulnerable populations, completely because they rely on others to help make sure that good decisions are being made for them," Ellis said.

The wife of the male victim said she's thankful that Sweet Life acted quickly and charges are possible in this case once the prosecutor gets a look at the information.

Rob Low, FOX 4 News

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1 comment:

Hunkston said...

Elder Abuse is difficult to spot, however when it is found it should be heavily punished!! Families put faith in people to look after the older relatives and people tackle advantage of the persons frail nature and trust put in them by the family! if someone is found guilty of elder abusethey should punishable in the same fashion a doctor is for medical negligence, however it should be remembered that elderly abuse is intentional and maliciously carried out!