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Nursing Home Abuse Arrests in Rochester NY

Jan 30, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP Two nursing homes in the Rochester, NY area are embroiled in an abuse scandal.  Yesterday, one certified nurse aide at the Kirkhaven Nursing Home in Rochester, and another who worked at the Edna Tina Wilson Living Center in Greece, NY, were arrested as part of a state-wide probe into nursing abuse and healthcare fraud.

According to the New York State Attorney Generals office, the aides arrested were 32-year-old Monique Jones, who worked at Kirkhaven, and 47-year-old Nellie Weller, an aide at the Greece facility. Jones is accused of kicking an 88-year-old resident in his ribs.  Weller allegedly tied a 76-year-old resident's nightgown around his neck and legs, leaving him unable to move or use his urinal.  Both aides have been fired from their jobs at the facilities.

Jones and Weller have each been charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and willful violation of the health laws. The maximum penalty for each charge is one year in prison.  They were each arraigned yesterday, and were released on their own recognizance.  Jones will return to court on February 9 and Weller is due back in court on March 19.

The arrest were part of a wide-ranging probe into nursing home abuse and healthcare fraud in the state.  Prior to the arrest of Jones and Weller, there had been 30 arrests statewide of nursing home employees from hidden-camera investigations.

"Thousands of New Yorkers and their families depend on nursing home aides and healthcare professionals to provide vital services to their loved ones," said Attorney General Cuomo said in a statement announcing the arrests.  "For any of these caregivers to abuse the trust we place in them is reprehensible, and my office will continue to intervene on behalf of vulnerable New Yorkers to ensure safe and quality care."

Unfortunately nursing home abuse is a common crime.  The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates at least one in 20 nursing home patients has been the victim of negligence and or abuse, though it concedes that the number is probably higher.  According to the National Center’s study, 57% of nurses’ aides in long-term care facilities admitted to having witnessed, and even participating in, acts of negligence and abuse. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that nursing home neglect played role in the deaths of nearly 14,000 nursing home patients between 1999 and 2002.

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