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Hearing Focuses On Nursing Home Abuse

Aug 4, 2004 | Boston Herald More investigators are needed to probe abuse allegations in Bay State nursing homes, a state health official testified yesterday before concerned legislators.

One patient was found with a sheet wrapped around her and tied to a wheelchair. Another was forcefully held down by two RNs while a catheter was inserted.

``These are actual examples from cases we've investigated,'' said Paul Dreyer of the state Department of Public Health, which received more than 12,000 complaints last year, most of them involving long-term care facilities. Investigators found evidence of abuse in 114 of the 368 abuse allegations they probed, a slight increase from 2002.

The department could investigate more abuse allegations if they had more staff, Dreyer said.

Yesterday's hearing in Waltham was held amid widespread reports of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Kay Trudeau, 79, said her twin sister, Geraldine DiLorenzo, was beaten by another patient at Sunrise Assisted Living in Wayland.

``Her whole face was a mess. They've done nothing about it,'' said Trudeau, who brought photos of her sister's bruised face. Her twin has since moved. A Sunrise spokeswoman said an investigation was done but would not release details.

Advocates for the elderly said better facilities are needed for people with Alzheimer's and dementia. Certified nurse's aides need more training and nursing homes need to hire more staff, they said.

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