Nursing Home Aides Found Guilty of Elder Abuse by Engaging in Prank with Dementia Residents

In recent nursing home abuse news that our Baltimore, Maryland attorneys have been following, two former nursing aides in a Northern California nursing home were sentenced to a twenty day county jail sentence for allegedly organizing a prank for other workers by rubbing eight dementia nursing home patients with ointment to make them slippery to care for.

According to the Ukiah Daily Journal, Jennifer Louise Burton and Monica Rose Smith were found guilty of masterminding the nursing home abuse incident at Valley View Skilled Nursing facility in 2009, receiving a twenty day county jail sentence and two years probation for misdemeanor charges of elder abuse. Douglas Parker, Deputy District Attorney claimed that the elder abuse convictions and the fact that their nursing assistant licenses have been revoked by the state will ensure that the producers of this prank will on longer have the opportunity to work in a position of trust at a skilled nursing facility in the future.

The nursing home abuse incident reportedly occurred in November of 2009, and was investigated by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown, after he received an alert about the abuse by another nursing home operator. The company reportedly instantly fired six employees—Burton and Smith, along with three other defendants, all five of which have had their nursing home licenses revoked. Jared Buckley, the third nursing home defendant was also charged with a misdemeanor for elder abuse, and two other nursing assistants were found guilty of failing to report the elder abuse. The sixth nursing assistant had the charges against her dismissed.

The dementia patients were reportedly not physically injured or harmed in the prank, but they were unable to object to their mistreatment or stop it because of their mental and medical conditions and limitations.

Under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, it is a violation of federal and state law for any individual, including the nursing home staff, family, friends, visitors, volunteers, or other residents to engage in the nursing home abuse or neglect of a resident. In a recent Baltimore elder abuse blog post, our attorneys discussed how important it is for healthcare providers and families to report if a senior appears to have suffered elder abuse physically, emotionally or even financially.

In Baltimore, Maryland, contact our nursing home attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC for a free consultation.

Women sentenced in nursing home elder abuse case, The Ukiah Daily Journal, August 9, 2011
Nursing Home Workers Sentenced For Making Patients Slippery, The Huffington Post, August 12, 2011

Related Web Resources:

What is Abuse: Why Should I Care About Elder Abuse?, National Center on Elder Abuse, NCEA
What is Elder Abuse?, Department of Health & Human Services: Administration on Aging
Frequently Asked Questions, National Center on Elder Abuse, NCEA

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Related Blog Posts:

“Granny Cam” Footage Documents Nursing Home Abuse of Alzheimer Resident, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, June 28, 2011
Nanny Cam Catches Nursing Home Abuse—Dementia Patient Forced to Stand Topless, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, April 8, 2011
Nursing Home Staff Tries to Initiate Sexual Behavior Between Two Dementia Residents for Amusement, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, April 6, 2011
The Importance of Reporting Nursing Home and Elder Abuse, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, April 2, 2011

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