Maria Cruz, a former Certified Nursing Assistant, pled guilty to assault and battery of an elderly person that she had been taking care of at a nursing home. As part of Cruz’s probation, Lawrence District Court Judge Barbara Pearson has ordered her to stay away from the victim, the two witnesses, and the Sutton Hill Center Nursing Home.
Cruz is also forbidden from taking care of any elderly person in any way or from ever working in a senior nursing home setting. She also has to undergo an anger management evaluation and 100 hours of community service.
Authorities say that in 2006, Cruz stepped on an 86-year-old patient’s face and swore at her. Two Certified Nursing Assistants witnessed the incident and they reported Cruz, 46, to the DPH (Department of Public Health) and the Attorney General’s Office. She was fired after an investigation and suspension.
A recent Congressional Report says that 1/3rd of the 17,000 nursing homes in the U.S. have been cited for some form of nursing home abuse.
Elder abuse at a nursing home can consist of physical violence, verbal violence, sexual abuse, and emotional violence. Nursing home neglect, where caretakers at a nursing home neglect to take proper care of an elderly patient, is another form of abuse. Staff inattention, overlooking signs of illnesses, not giving a patient timely and proper medical care (medical neglect), and unsanitary or dangerous living conditions, are all forms of nursing home negligence.
Sings of nursing home abuse can consist of severe dehydration, unexplained cuts or bruises, bedsores, and sudden weight loss.
The Nursing Home and Abuse and Neglect Center says that a person may be a victim of emotional or verbal abuse at a nursing home if he or she seems:
• Emotionally upset or agitated • Extremely withdrawn and non-communicative • Exhibits unusual behavior (sucking, biting, rocking)
• Exhibits humiliating, insulting, frightening, or threatening behavior towards family and friends • Wants to be isolated from other people • Ignores family and friends
North Andover Nursing Assistant Pleads Guilty to Assaulting an Elderly Nursing Home Patient, The Office of Massachusetts Attorney General, August 8, 2007
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect News
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Resource Center
Related Web Resource:
Information Sources for Elder Law
If you think that someone you care about is being abused or neglected at a nursing home in Massachusetts, contact Altman & Altman LLP. We can determine whether your elderly loved one is eligible for compensation for the abuse or neglect, and we can file a personal injury lawsuit for you.