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Preventing Massachusetts Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect: Are Assisted Living Facilities Doing Enough When Screening Employees Before Hiring Them?

According to The Berkshire Eagle, over the last 2 ½ years, three workers at two Pittsfield nursing homes have been convicted of crimes involving Massachusetts nursing home abuse. One worker was convicted of rape and two others for assault. Two of the people who were convicted already had prior criminal records when they were hired at the Massachusetts assisted living facilities.

Considering that, per a recent report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General, over 90% of nursing homes in the US employ at least one worker with a criminal history, the two workers’ past records aren’t surprising. It doesn’t help that in Massachusetts, assisted living facilities are only required to check for criminal records within the commonwealth. This means that a person convicted of a crime in another jurisdiction could still get hired in the state.

Apparently, in the Pittsfield cases, the nursing homes’ administrators did background checks but the workers’ criminal histories were not discovered. For example, Jerald H. Sullivan, a former employee at Hillcrest Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, had a criminal record in Vermont when the Pittsfield assisted living facility hired him as a certified nursing assistant in 2009. The 54-year-old CNA is accused of raping an elderly female patient in her room. Sandra A. Yankley, a former Springside of Pittsfield nursing home worker, was convicted last year of assaulting an elderly nursing home patient. Yankley too already had a criminal record when she was arrested.

It is important that assisted living facilities and the companies that own them make sure that they don’t hire anyone who is at risk of committing Boston nursing home abuse or neglect. Elderly and sick patients are easy targets for abusers, violent persons, and sexual predators. Massachusetts nursing homes must do everything they can to protect their residents.

Our Boston injury lawyers are here to make sure that negligent assisted living facilities are held liable when their negligence allows/causes a resident to get hurt, neglected, sick, or die.

Assaults cast pall on nursing homes, The Berkshire Eagle, April 24, 2011
Study Finds Criminal Pasts of Nursing Home Workers, The New York Times, March 2, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Read the Report by the Office of Inspector General

Massachusetts Department of Public Health


More Blog Posts:

Threat of a Massachusetts Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Lawsuit May Not Be Enough to Improve Facility Care, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, May 31, 2011
Danvers, Massachusetts Nursing Home Abuse: Lynn Woman Convicted of Assault and Battery on an Elderly Person, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 4, 2011
Victim of Alleged Sudbury Nursing Home Abuse Sexual Assault Crime Can’t Testify, Says Judge, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, November 10, 2011
Contact our Boston nursing home neglect and abuse law firm today.