Posted November 6, 2014 | News
As reported by WFLA News Channel 8, Dale Wilson became suspicious of foul play at Palm Gardens Nursing Home when he noticed unusual bruising on his 76-year-old father’s arms and legs. Due to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, his father was unable to communicate the cause of his injuries. When nursing home employees were unable to explain the injuries he set up a hidden camera to investigate.
That was when Dale Wilson witnessed the unthinkable — nursing home employees were shown on video provoking, striking and kicking his elderly father. The video showed that after being provoked, the elderly man became aggravated and started flailing his arms. At that point, one of the assailants is shown kicking and stomping on the man.
Upon viewing the hidden camera footage, Winter Haven police arrested suspects, Yashika Jones, age 28, and Rose Blaise, age 35, who were each charged with battery of an elderly person. In Florida, persons convicted of battery upon a person 65 years of age or older are to be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years and fined up to $10,000. They can also be ordered to make restitution to the victim of the offense and perform up to 500 hours of community service work.
In addition to the charges brought by Winter Haven police, Palm Gardens has confirmed that six employees are under investigation by the nursing home.
Notably, federal nursing home law requires that a nursing home report suspected abuse to the state monitoring agency. Failure to report suspected abuse may result in severe penalties to the facility such as fines or termination from Medicare or Medicaid programs.
As seen here, installing a hidden camera may be the best way to monitor a relative’s care when you cannot be with them. A camera can help you ensure that your loved one is receiving the quality care promised to them by nursing home and assisted living facilities.
In Florida, a guardian, or relative that has been given permission, may legally place a hidden camera in a nursing home resident’s room. One caveat to this rule is that the video camera may not record sound. Before installing a camera that records sound, it is important to research federal and state wiretapping laws that may prohibit you from doing so.
Nursing home neglect and abuse is prevalent and occurs more often than people may think. The elderly are easy targets due to their physical dependence on others. As was the case in this unfortunate incident, residents often cannot communicate, and therefore cannot report abuse themselves. In other cases, nursing home residents may be too scared, embarrassed or unable to remember the incident due to cognitive issues.
It is not unusual for nursing home staff to cover up incidents that occur in nursing homes in order to avoid liability and protect their jobs and coworkers. However, as the nursing staff at Palm Gardens Nursing Home have found out — the camera doesn’t lie. A hidden camera can be a powerful tool to investigate the quality of care provided to residents. Further, it can be an effective way to prove nursing home neglect or abuse in the courtroom.
If you believe that a relative has been physically or sexually abused by a nursing home employee, or by a fellow nursing home resident, it is crucial to take action. First, we recommend that any suspected abuse be immediately reported to the Department of Health. Afterwards, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss your rights.
To speak openly and directly with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer, contact Brent Wieand (877) 654-3887. The consultation is free and you will pay no attorney’s fees unless we successfully pursue your claim and obtain financial compensation through a settlement, arbitration award or verdict.