According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), two residents were abused by the staff at the Burnsides Community Health Center in Marshall, Illinois. The reports of the incidents are shocking, but perhaps even more so is the failure of the Burnsides Community Health Center to recognize the abuse, protect the victims, and report the incidents to the appropriate authorities. It’s hard to interpret their actions as anything other than a cover up.
One of the residents was admitted with diagnosis of moderate dementia and early Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to the obvious memory and cognitive losses, she is also unable to communicate and has lost gross and fine motor skills. She requires extensive assistance with feeding and two staff members to transfer her from chair to bed.
During an inspection by the IDPH, one of the staff members told the inspector that she had seen the resident being mistreated and had reported it to the nursing home Administrator (who also functioned as the Abuse Prevention Coordinator).
The staff member witnessed a nurse sneak up on the resident and roughly restrain her from behind while another staff member poured medicine down her throat. Naturally the resident struggled and was upset. The Administrator admitted receiving the report but didn’t feel the incident was abuse. Rather, it was considered inappropriate.
Another resident, also suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, was yelled at and physically forced to eat. A staff member grabbed her around the neck and attempted to force food into her mouth. Again, this incident was properly reported by staff members, but the reports were ignored.
Residents with Alzheimer’s disease are often the victims of physical and verbal abuse in nursing homes because they are always assumed to be unreliable witnesses. Any allegations of nursing home abuse are supposed to be investigated and the accused parties are to be kept out of contact with the residents until the investigation is properly concluded.
If you have a loved one who has been the victim of nursing home abuse, contact my law offices for a free and confidential evaluation of your case.