Convictions of Nursing Home Employees for Abusing Residents’ Dolls Highlight Nursing Home Dangers

Having an aging family member can be stressful and unnerving. Every family wants to make sure their loved one is cared for properly, but figuring out how to make that happen is not always easy. According to the National Council on Aging, about one in 10 Americans age 60 or older has experienced some form of elder abuse—and many cases go unreported. In fact, some estimates are that only one in 14 cases of elder abuse is reported. As a result, many advocates find abuse is even more common than most people think. Elder abuse includes physical abuse, as well as sexual abuse, exploitation, emotional abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Abusers can be family members, or they can be staff at nursing homes and other caretakers.

Elder Americans are especially vulnerable to abuse, in part because they are often isolated and suffer from mental impairment. Abuse can result in injuries and death and also can negatively affect elders’ financial security, health, and dignity. And as the American population ages, more people are at risk of abuse. In 2014, long-term care providers served about nine million people in the United States. A recent case showed a strange and unexpected case of abuse that affected many vulnerable nursing home residents.

Nursing Home Employees Convicted After Harming Residents’ Dolls

According to one news source, two nursing home employees were recently convicted for abusing residents’ dementia dolls. The two women pleaded guilty for their treatment of residents at a nursing home. The employees, who were both in their 20s, were employees at a nursing home where dolls were used a therapeutic tool for residents to care for as if they were their own children. The nursing home housed residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The employees shared videos and images of themselves “harming” the dolls, which someone eventually reported to authorities. In one photo, one of the employees can be seen pulling a doll from an elderly resident, who tries to hold onto it. Another video showed the employee throwing a doll on the floor and telling the doll to die. The women also took photos of a doll in various locations, including in a fish tank and being hung by its neck.

The judge at sentencing said the women were cruel and treated residents “as playthings, as the butt of your tasteless jokes.” The women both received prison sentences—one for 12 months and the other for 13 months.

Has Your Loved One Suffered Abuse at a Nursing Home?

If you have a loved one whom you believe suffered abuse at a nursing home or from another caretaker, you may have grounds to pursue a claim for compensation. The trial attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have nearly two decades of experience representing victims throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Our attorneys approach each case with empathy and professionalism, and we can provide you with the attention you deserve. Contact us at 1-800-654-1949 or 410-654-3600, or via our online form to set up a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Big Changes Coming to Most Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published November 18, 2016.

New Rule Restricting Arbitration Clauses May Result in Better Care for the Elderly, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published November 7, 2016.

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