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Nursing Home Employee Gets 7 years after Hidden Camera finds her Stuffing Latex Gloves in Patient's Mouth

Jan 23, 2013

A nursing home employee in Oklahoma City is facing criminal abuse charges this week after she was discovered stuffing latex gloves in the mouth of an elderly dementia patient under her care.

According to a report, the family of the 96-year-old woman had suspected that someone was stealing from her room at the nursing home. They installed a hidden camera and instead of theft, what they saw instead were shocking displays of elder abuse.

On separate occasions, the hidden camera recorded evidence of abuse against the dementia patient. It is unclear whether other employees at the nursing home were also abusing this specific patient but in one series of shots, another caretaker is seen in the room watching idly as the other commits the abuse.

As stated, one of the incidents involves the nursing home employee forcibly stuffing latex gloves into the patient’s mouth and holding her mouth closed. In other incidents, the employee can be seen in the footage holding down the patient by placing pressure on her chest. She also forced her head down in order to get her to lay down.

Since the patient was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and severe arthritis, these acts of abuse would have been extremely painful. The woman died a few months after the video evidence was brought to light and while the abuse is not currently considered a cause of the woman’s death, it likely made life more difficult for the woman in her final weeks.

A 23-year-old nurse’s aide from Nigeria who had been working at the home and was identified as the person who stuffed the latex gloves in the woman’s mouth was sentenced to seven years in prison, two of the years being suspended.

As the nation’s economy weakens, it has directly impacted the quality of health care available in the U.S., especially at the thousands of nursing homes operating across the country. As more people choose to enter a nursing home facility, the demand for rooms increases and so does the need for competent aide in tending to these patients’ many needs.

Budget cuts have forced many nursing homes into making questionable decisions with hiring staff, often opting to pay lower-wage employees over more skilled practitioners. Safety inspections that aim to ensure patients are receiving competent and skilled care have declined and that has put thousands more nursing home residents of risk for abuse and negligence.

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