Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Senior care facilities mix the frail and the disturbed

Georgie Williams
The nursing home Georgie Williams moved to in her 80s was supposed to be a haven from the deepening confusion of Alzheimer's disease.

The locked unit in the Windsor home did protect her for a while from things like leaving the stove on or wandering away. But on Feb. 16, 2013, danger came looking for her while she lay in bed.

Another resident, a 77-year-old man with a history of dementia and hallucinations, entered her room, sat on her bed and pummeled her face, neck and arms, according to police and medical records.

A nurse responding to Williams' screams caught him with his fist drawn back. It took three nurses to pull him off.

Williams' experience is not commonplace in long-term care, but some experts say the danger is increasing as a widening mix of frail elderly people and those with behavior problems land in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, group homes and supportive-housing situations.

Elder abuse brings to mind mistreatment by caregivers, but studies suggest resident-to-resident attacks are more common.

A 2014 study by Cornell University found that 1 in 5 nursing home residents were involved in at least one aggressive encounter with fellow residents in the previous four weeks. A 2013 University of Pittsburgh study, funded by the Department of Justice, found that 13 percent of assisted-living residents had been involved in arguments with other residents, 6 percent had experienced an aggressive act, and 4 percent were bullied.

These risks are unfolding on a national stage, where positive trends have led to some negative results:

- People are living longer, putting them at greater risk for dementia, which can lead some to lash out in confusion and anxiety.

- People are surviving serious accidents and war trauma, some with brain injuries that leave them with poor impulse control and aggressive tendencies.

- Those with serious mental illness are being moved out of state-run institutions into communities, putting them in neighborhoods that don't have proper support.

It's a world where assailants and their prey fall into the same category: Victims of disease and disability with fraying family networks who are moving from institutions to places unprepared for them.

"They are invisible populations, but they are there, and they are increasing in numbers," said Dr. Robert Palmer, who directs the Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology at Eastern Virginia Medical School. "I don't think as a society we have thought enough about how to help them. It's a topic buried deep in the American consciousness."

It's a societal crossroads that Elizabeth Lorenz of Chesapeake never imagined for her grandmother: "I go back to what she must have been thinking lying there: 'Somebody help me.' "

Lorenz and relatives had spent months looking for just the right place for Williams, a longtime Portsmouth resident. They settled on Consulate Health Care of Windsor in Isle of Wight County, and she moved there in 2010.

For a few years, everything went well. As time went on, they noticed some lapses in care. Then one night in February 2013, Windsor police came to Lorenz's door: Her 84-year-old grandmother had been involved in an altercation.

Lorenz drove to Sentara Obici Hospital, thinking her grandmother had gotten into a minor tussle over someone taking something from her room. What she saw stunned her: Dark purple bruises surrounded both eyes. Her grandmother's left cheek was bruised and the skin torn. Her arms were cut and bruised.

Her vision was so blurred from the attack that she couldn't make out visitors. When Lorenz drew close to her, Williams instinctively put her hands up, drawing back in fear.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Senior care facilities mix the frail and the disturbed


Anonymous said...

OMG that poor woman!

Jeff said...

I appreciate this article. People don't really have this in mind when they look at a facility. Another thing to watch out for is aged criminals; they put them in with everybody else too.

Sharon said...

It hurts me to look at her. I can imagine how her family feels.

B Inberg said...

I hope those who are responsible for allowing dangerous people to be near or mingle with our vulnerable helpless elders are held accountable with criminal charges and time in a prison cell.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this article, NASGA.

Though in-depth, the article barely scratches the surface on the role of Jewish Family Service of Tidewater in this dangerous mix of seriously mentally ill and frail elderly.

Please note that Lloyd Clements of Jewish Family Service of Tidewater explicitly acknowledges that JFS has guardianship clients who are homeless (!) and that JFS is dumping clients into places that "aren't pretty." What an understatement!

Those places include, front and center, the five now-closed facilities with 379 victims operated by the notorious Scott Schuett until October 1, 2013.

Merely mentioning that Scott Schuett is out of business and in bankruptcy obscures the salient fact that state officials used Schuett in a deliberate scheme to eject the mentally ill from state psychiatric facilities and dump them into assisted living facilities alongside victims like 92 year old Violet Compton, beaten senseless by a four time felon who came from Eastern State Hospital.

After Mrs. Comptons' April 2012 beating, state officials in the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, the Virginia Attorney General's Office, and the Virginia Department of Social Services tried mightily to KEEP SCOTT SCHUETT'S FACILITIES OPEN.

Finally forced by adverse publicity to belatedly close Schuett's facilities, state officials to this very day continue to "shoot the messenger" and spread actionable, defamatory falsehoods about the attorney who made them get off their derrieres and do their job and shut down Scott Schuett's abuse and neglect factories.

These same people, including VDARS attorneys Janet James and Amy Marschean, are still "protecting" the elderly and disabled of the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Sue Harmon said...

Take a good look we're next!

If you don't approve of what you are seeing, do something about it.
We are not voiceless puppets we do have the means, the motive and the resources to step up and be the loud voice for the innocent victims in our society.

I will say it: the beast who did this to Georgie Williams deserves the same treatment an eye for an eye.

And I will add the beast who did this should get this treatment non stop every day of his miserable life no excuses I don't want to hear about excuses.

And as B Inberg stated all involved must be criminally charged as if they were the offenders all of them must be criminally charged for enabling this insanity.

I hope there is a special place in Hell but til judgment day I want to see the protected people in high places pay dearly for their neglect and rock bottom poor judgment. I am mad as hell!