A guardian for disabled and elderly people,
appointed by Kitsap and Suquamish tribal courts, was sentenced Thursday
to a year-and-a-day in prison for scamming more than $250,000 from his
clients, including almost $50,000 from a tribal elder.
attorney for Wayne Jerome Houston, 61, of Port Ludlow, wrote in court
documents that Houston started the thefts by skimming from accounts
while telling himself he was working hard for his clients.
Houston offers no excuses,” his public defender wrote in documents
filed with U.S. District Court, adding that he had already paid back
$54,000. “He knows what he did was wrong.”
had lived on Bainbridge Island, coached youth sports there and had
worked as a pilot for DHL before operating Cross Point Services LLC
and moving to Jefferson County.
managed the finances of about 15 to 20 people per month, all of whom
were disabled or elderly adults, incapacitated and unable to handle
their finances without help, according to federal prosecutors.
in 2010, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Houston started
stealing from wealthier clients so that the theft was less likely to be
noticed, with sums ranging from $200 to $66,500.
In addition to the year in prison for pleading
guilty to a count of “Social Security fraud - representative payee
fraud,” U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Bryan ordered Houston to pay
back $256,336.23 taken from 22 people listed by initials in court
“But for his detection by Adult
Protective Services and termination from his guardianships, there is no
telling how long this pattern may have continued, or how many more may
have been victimized,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
Prosecutors added: “There is simply no explanation for Houston’s
repeated decision to steal from his clients hundreds of times over the
course of almost a decade, other than a desire to, as he put it, ‘live
above his means.’”
GREELEY — Waving signs that read such things as “I’d rather die of
COVID than loneliness,” and “We are prisoners in our home,” residents of
one nursing facility staged their own anti-lockdown protest along one
of the busiest streets in Greeley, directly across the street from the
city’s largest and longest operating hospital.
“Freedom, freedom, freedom,” one lady chanted while waving a sign that read “we want our families back.”
The protest against the Colorado Department of Public Health and
Environment (CDPHE) and Gov. Jared Polis’ mandates that do not allow
nursing home residents to see their loved ones, was thought up,
organized and carried out by the residents, with oversight from their
nurses and other staff members, said the Assistant Administrator of
Fairacres Manor Ben Gonzales.
Gonzales said the facility has a resident council that meets monthly
to discuss things that are on residents’ minds. They usually discuss
caregivers, things they’d like to do, or offer suggestions, among other
However, recently, they brought up the idea of protesting the
lockdown as they enter their eighth month of no hugs, no smiles, no
kisses from their loved ones.
“We are here to support our residents,” Gonzales said. “If they want
to get their voices heard, they have rights just like we should have
rights as well. We wanted to make sure that they were able to express
Gonzales said the staff made sure the residents were all placed six
feet apart on the grass across from the entrance to North Colorado
Medical Center, along a busy 16th Street in the center of
town. They were wearing masks and each one had their own member of the
staff nearby. The nurses and other personnel were also in all the
appropriate personal protection equipment required for their jobs.
Hospital administration who happened to hear of the protest,
applauded their efforts and took time to go across the street as well.
One woman, who was not from Greeley, but happened to be at the
hospital during the protest yelled across the street “tell them to let
you out of jail.”
She identified herself only as a nursing home administrator in
another community. She said has seen more deaths due to depression among
her residents since the pandemic than she has COVID itself, blaming
mandates and restrictions more than the virus.
“The isolation is what kills these people,” she said. “It’s just
incredibly sad that they can’t live out the last part of their lives
with their family surrounding them.”
Gonzales agreed. He said although the homes are now preparing for
indoor visits as the weather gets colder, residents will still not be
able to touch or hug their loved ones.
“But that’s what they need,” Gonzales said. “They need that physical contact, to hug their grandchildren.”
Gonzales agreed some of the signs they created were tough to read.
“We as staff members get to go see our family and our loved ones,”
Gonzales said. “So, it’s tough when they don’t get to do that. We are
held to standards by the government and the state health department. But
it’s very understandable. I feel for them. I can’t imagine what they
are going through. So, it’s nice to be able to support them in this way.
We are here to come together and to support each other.”
Weld County Commissioner Scott James stopped by the facility to lend
his support for the protest as well. He said his heart breaks for all
the residents of Fairacres and every other facility like it in Colorado.
“They are members of the greatest generation,” James said. “The very
generation who fought to overturn tyranny and protect our freedoms. Now
these members of that generation have had their freedom taken away via a
tyrannous act by unelected bureaucrats. The governor and the CDPHE
should immediately work with these facilities to give them a way by
which they may hug their loved ones.”
The Department of Justice Tuesday awarded grants totaling over $144
million to enhance services for victims of crime across the United
“The Department of Justice is steadfast in its commitment to
protecting public safety and bringing justice to those who have been
victimized,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “The investments we
are making today will support service providers as they work to secure
the legal rights of victims and put survivors of criminal acts on the
road to recovery.”
All grant money being awarded today comes from offices within the
department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP). Approximately $64.3
million was awarded under Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) grant
programs; over $54.1 million was awarded under Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) programs; over $19.9 million
was awarded under Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring,
Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) grant programs; and
nearly $5.7 million was awarded under two National Institute of Justice
(NIJ) grant programs.
“As lockdowns and lawlessness fuel crime in America’s homes and
communities, more people are vulnerable to victimization and those who
have been victimized face new hurdles,” said OJP Principal Deputy
Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “The Office of Justice
Programs is committed to giving our victim service partners the tools
they need to better serve their clients and protect victims’ rights.”
Grants awarded under FY 2020 OVC programs further the
department’s mission to enhance the field’s response to victims of
crime. Specific programs are:
The Emergency and Transitional Shelter and Housing
Assistance for Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Victims
and their Companion Animals Grant program gives over $2.2
million to six organizations for shelter and transitional housing to
victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or
stalking and their companion animals.
The Improving Community Preparedness to Assist Victims of
Mass Violence or Domestic Terrorism: Training and Technical Assistance
Project awards nearly $3 million to provide individualized
training and technical assistance to state, local and tribal law
enforcement; units of government; emergency managers; victim service
providers; and other stakeholders to help augment their community
emergency management response plans to ensure that the needs of victims,
families and first responders are addressed after incidents of criminal
mass violence or domestic terrorism.
The Advancing the Use of Technology to Assist Victims of Crime program
gives over $6.2 million to five organizations to support projects that
demonstrate innovative strategies to create, expand or enhance the use
of technology to interact directly with crime victims and to provide
information, referrals, crisis assistance and long-term help.
The Addressing Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting program
gives nearly $1.8 million to six recipients to address communities’
responses to victims of female genital mutilation and over $1 million to
one organization to provide targeted technical assistance to inform
front-line providers on how to identify and serve victims and persons
at-risk of being victimized.
The Targeted Training and Technical Assistance for VOCA Victim Assistance and Compensation Administrators program
awards nearly $5 million specifically to provide peer-to-peer training
on federal grants management and administration for Victims of Crime Act
victim assistance grantees and subgrantees.
The Crime Victims’ Rights Legal Clinics program
gives nearly $4 million to four recipients to enforce crime victims’
rights at the federal level under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and at
the state, local or tribal level under substantially similar state,
local, or tribal laws. Another $1 million is awarded to a training and
technical assistance provider to support the clinics as they launch or
expand their crime victims’ rights clinics and train allied
The Law Enforcement-Based Victim Specialist program
gives over $8.6 million to 22 recipients to develop or enhance crime
victim specialist programs within law enforcement agencies to better
support victims through the criminal justice process, and another $2
million to one organization to support training and technical assistance
for the grantees.
The Crime Victim Compensation Program Assessment program
gives nearly $2.4 million to seven recipients to help selected states
assess victims’ access to compensation programs with the goal of
increasing the number of victims aware of this resource.
The State Victim Liaison Project gives over $4.7
million to 10 organizations to place one or more experienced crime
victim liaisons within selected VOCA State Administrating Agencies to
act as a bridge between the state and other state-based nongovernmental
organizations in order to identify gaps in victim services and improve
access to resources for crime victims in rural/tribal areas, older
victims of crime and victims of violent crime.
The Training for Law Enforcement to Improve Identification of and Response to Elder Fraud Victims program
awards nearly $2 million to provide training and technical assistance
to enhance law enforcement’s ability to identify elder fraud victims,
connect those victims with available services, and bring the fraudsters
The Enhancing Services for Older Victims of Abuse and Financial Exploitation program
awards nearly $6 million to 12 organizations to support communities in
providing services to older victims of abuse and exploitation using
trauma-informed approaches that protect the safety and confidentiality
The Enhancing Community Responses to America’s Drug Crisis: Serving Our Youngest Crime Victims program
gives over $12 million to 17 organizations to support direct services
to children and youth who are crime victims as a result of the nation’s
addiction crisis; and nearly $1.5 million to one organization to support
training and technical assistance for the direct services grantees. In
addition, OVC will award $250,000 in continuation funding to the Modoc
Tribe of Oklahoma to provide services to Tribal children and youth who
are victimized as the result of the opioid crisis.
The National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Community Awareness Program gives
$300,000 to an eligible organization to continue supporting public
awareness, community outreach, and education activities for crime
victims’ rights and services during NCVRW in April 2021.
Grants awarded under FY 2020 OJJDP programs further the department’s
mission of supporting the effective investigation and prosecution of
child abuse and neglect cases.
Under the Victims of Child Abuse Act Support for Children’s Advocacy Centers program,
OJJDP awarded more than $18.3 million in continuation funding to the
National Children’s Alliance in Washington D.C. This program will
provide support to Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) through three
funding categories: subgrants to local CACs, state chapters and
multidisciplinary teams ($15.3 million); subgrants to provide services
for victims of child pornography ($2 million); and efforts to help
military installations address cases of child abuse, including subgrants
to local CACs ($1 million).
OJJDP also awarded $5 million in continuation funding to four organizations via the VOCA Regional Children’s Advocacy Center. This
program supports regional centers, one situated within each of the four
U.S. Census regions, that help to build and establish multidisciplinary
teams (MDTs), local programs, and state chapter organizations that
respond to child abuse and neglect; and deliver training and technical
assistance that strengthen existing MDTs, local CACs and state chapter
Through the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCA) Training and Technical Assistance for Child Abuse Professionals program,
OJJDP awarded $2.5 million to the National Children’s Advocacy Center
in Alabama. This program promotes improved child interview techniques,
thorough investigative methods, interagency coordination and effective
presentation of evidence in court. The program will provide training and
technical assistance to establish coordinated multidisciplinary
programs that address child maltreatment.
OJJDP awarded more than $10.8 million in continuation funding to the
National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association in Washington
under the Court Appointed Special Advocates Membership, Accreditation, and Subgrants Program and Training and Technical Assistance.
This program aims to serve and improve outcomes for children in the
dependency system; provide effective advocacy for abused and neglected
children, including foster care youth; and build on the training and
technical assistance program that OJJDP has developed in collaboration
with the National CASA Association.
OJJDP awarded more than $3.1 million to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in Nevada under the Child Abuse Training for Judicial and Court Personnel program
to improve juvenile justice and dependency systems’ response to child
abuse and neglect, as well as child sexual exploitation and sex
trafficking. This program provides judicial, legal and social service
professionals with training and technical assistance to improve their
understanding of child abuse; their ability to prevent placement in
foster care when possible; and their ability to reunify families after
foster care placement.
OJJDP awarded more than $7.2 million to the National Children’s Alliance to support the American Indian and Alaska Native Subgrant Program.
This program will support the expansion of new satellite CACs through
the provision of subgrants to existing CACs in Alaska, and to tribes (or
existing CACs serving tribes) interested in establishing a satellite
CAC in the lower 48 states.
Another $4.8 million was awarded to eight organizations through the Alaska Children’s Advocacy Center Expansion Initiative for Child Abuse Victims to
support programmatic enhancements for existing Alaska-based CACs to
increase the range and quality of services as well as specific
Under the Training and Technical Assistance To Expand Children’s Advocacy Centers Serving American Indian/Alaska Native Communities program,
OJJDP awarded $1 million to the University of Montana to improve the
capacity of child abuse professionals and promote the effective delivery
of the evidence-informed CACs model and the multidisciplinary response
to child abuse across American Indian/Alaska Native communities.
OJJDP awarded $750,000 to the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma via the Tribal Children’s Advocacy Center Expansion Initiative for Child Abuse Victims program
to improve the capacity of child abuse professionals and promote the
effective delivery of the evidence-informed CAC model and the
multidisciplinary response to child abuse in tribal communities.
OJJDP awarded $500,000 to the Alaska Children’s Alliance (State
Chapter) to enhance and expand the coordinated multidisciplinary
investigation and prosecution of child abuse in Alaska through targeted
training and technical assistance.
Grants awarded under FY 2020 SMART programs further the department’s
mission of keeping communities safe by promoting innovation and best
practices in preventing and protecting the public from sexual violence.
The National Sex Offender Public Website program
awards over $900,000 for continued Maintenance and Operation of the Dru
Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website program.
The Keep Young Athletes Safe program awards over
$2.2 million to support the ongoing implementation of prevention
measures to safeguard amateur athletes from sexual, physical and
emotional abuse in the athletic programs of the United States Olympic
& Paralympic Committee, each national governing body and each
Paralympic sports organization.
The Adam Walsh Act program awards over $16.7
million to 61 recipients to help jurisdictions develop and enhance
programs designed to implement the Sex Offender Registration and
Notification Act (SORNA), which provides a comprehensive set of minimum
standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United
States. Almost $800,000 is being awarded to provide training and
technical assistance to jurisdictions implementing SORNA standards.
Grants awarded under FY 2020 NIJ programs aim to evaluate and fund
research projects related to perpetrators and victims of elder abuse.
The Research and Evaluation of Victims of Crime program
gives over $4.2 million to six recipients to evaluate programs that
provide services for victims of crime and research the financial costs
The Research on the Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of Elderly Individuals program
awarded just under $1.5 million to two recipients to fund research
projects to, respectively, better differentiate physical abuse of
elderly individuals from accidental injury and to improve the reporting
of elder abuse.
Here’s one of the final chapters of a nursing home negligence lawsuit that led to a political scandal and a couple of federal indictments.
Circuit Judge Dick Moore signed a Perry County
probate court order today approving the distribution of funds received
from the settlement of a lawsuit against nursing home magnate Michael Morton and former Republican Party chair and Sen. Gilbert Baker for allegedly interfering in a nursing home negligence case over the death of Martha Bull, a Perryville resident.
Bull, 76, died one month after entering the Greenbrier Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in
Faulkner County in 2008. She had severe abdominal pain and a doctor
ordered her admission to a hospital, but the order was overlooked
despite her agonized cries for help and she died that night,
A lawsuit was filed in Faulkner County by her daughters, Rose Perkins
and Rhonda Coppak, and it led to a $5.2 million jury verdict in the
court of Circuit Judge Mike Maggio in 2013. Maggio subsequently reduced
the verdict to $1 million. And then stuff started hitting the fan.
Maggio, then running for Arkansas Court of Appeals, said the verdict
shocked the conscience. Our report on the decision, the first on it, indicated our shock at his decision.
It soon developed that Morton had contributed heavily to Maggio’s
campaign at that time, through multiple PACs orchestrated by Baker. He
also gave $100,000 to UCA, which then employed Baker as a lobbyist.
Thomas Buchanan, attorney for the Bull estate, sued Maggio, Morton and Baker in 2014 alleging that the campaign contributions influenced
Maggio’s reduction of the verdict. Separately, a federal criminal
investigation began. Maggio pleaded guilty to reducing the verdict in
return for the campaign contributions and is serving a 10-year term.
Baker has been indicted and is awaiting trial. Morton was not charged
and has insisted he made legal campaign contributions to Maggio (and
many other judicial candidates).
The 2014 lawsuit was settled earlier this week.
Maggio is no longer a defendant. Morton, as owner of many nursing
homes, is the likely source of any money paid to settle the case. Baker,
when he appeared in court last year, was said to be making $53,000 as a
music faculty member at UCA. He’s being represented by a court-paid
The petition in probate court said the Bull estate had been
represented by three law firms — the Buchannan law firm, the Brannon
Sloan law firm and the firm of Dodds, Kidd, Ryan and Rowan — working on a
contingency fee basis. They were to be paid all recovered money and
costs because of what they said was the complexity and upfront costs of
Their filing said the confidential settlement terms included a
“certain sum of money.” The petitioners asked the probate judge to
distribute that money — since no claims are pending against the estate —
in equal shares after payment of attorney fees and costs to seven
heirs, including Coppak and Perkins. The judge reviewed the settlement
amount, attorney fees and expenses in camera. This request was filed in Perry County Sept. 17.
Today, Judge Moore signed an order approving the request. It said the
contingency fee was “reasonable” and ordered the remainder distributed
to seven heirs, except for one portion held in trust for the estate of
an heir that is still in probate.
When Buchanan confirmed a settlement had been reached earlier this week, he said he could say no more.
Baker’s trial is set Feb. 22. It’s never been clear if the federal
investigation into the matter is otherwise closed but Maggio is believed
to have been cooperating. The investigation verged into Baker’s
activities as a fund-raiser for several judicial candidates helped by
Morton, including Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood. My effort to pin down some federal information gathering ran into a Supreme Court stonewall last year.
FILE — Rosie Perkins, left, comforts
sister Rhonda Coppak while discussing the death of their mother Martha
Crow Bull at her grave site in Perryville November 19, 2015. The family
has been involved in a lawsuit after their mother's death in a
Greenbrier Nursing Home was deemed negligent.
A lawsuit accusing nursing home owner Michael Morton and former
lobbyist Gilbert Baker of corruptly interfering in a negligence lawsuit
to cause former Circuit Judge Michael Maggio to reduce a $5.2 million
jury award to $1 million in 2013 has been resolved, the plaintiffs'
attorney confirmed Monday.
"All I can say is the case has been resolved," Little Rock attorney
Thomas Buchanan said Monday about the Faulkner County Circuit Court suit
that challenged the outcome of a negligence lawsuit filed by two
daughters of Martha Bull, a Perryville woman who died in Morton's
Greenbrier Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in April 2008.
In July 2013, Maggio, then a Faulkner County circuit judge, lowered
the jury's award in the negligence case. Attorneys for Bull's family
contended in the newer lawsuit, which was resolved within the past
month, that Morton and Baker conspired to bribe Maggio to lower the
Maggio pleaded guilty in January 2015 to a bribery charge,
for which he is serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison. Baker, who
is also a former state senator and former chairman of the Arkansas
Republican Party, is facing a jury trial starting Feb. 22 on federal
charges of conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud. Morton hasn't been
charged, and he and Baker deny wrongdoing.
Electronic Faulkner County Circuit Court records on Monday didn't
reflect that the corruption lawsuit, filed on Nov. 14, 2018, had been
officially dismissed. Buchanan refused to comment on that Monday but
noted that in general, any settlement of a lawsuit involving an estate
must be approved by a probate judge.
Neither John Everett of Farmington, an attorney for Morton, nor
Richard Watts of Little Rock, an attorney for Baker, immediately
returned a reporter's call Monday about the case.
The case was being presided over by Special Circuit Judge David
Laser, who last year declined to dismiss the lawsuit, rejecting
arguments from Everett and attorney Kirkman Dougherty that the
plaintiffs couldn't cite "a single piece of admissible evidence that
could establish that Morton ever spoke to or communicated with Maggio in
Baker's attorneys said last year that he has "consistently
maintained" that he never asked Maggio or Morton to do anything improper
Two days before Maggio lowered the jury's award, Morton, a Fort Smith
businessman, either wrote or had someone write 10 $3,000 checks on his
behalf to 10 political action committees after Baker faxed him the PACs'
names with specified amounts, according to Baker's federal indictment.
Maggio's campaign for the state Court of Appeals ultimately got several thousand dollars but not all of the PAC donations.
Morton has said he made campaign contributions to numerous candidates
for the 2014 election, but never asked for anything in return from a
candidate and never discussed reducing a jury award with anybody.
STATE HOUSE — As COVID-19 continues to tragically separate nursing home
residents from their families, one state senator, Frank S. Lombardi
(D-Dist. 26, Cranston), plans to introduce legislation that would give
family members access to their loved ones in nursing homes during
emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill would mandate that long-term care facilities establish an
Essential Family Caregiver program that would allow a resident to have
an essential caregiver designated. The caregiver would be a person such
as a family member, outside caregiver, friend, or volunteer who provided
regular care and support to the resident prior to the pandemic; and
that person would be given more access to the resident on a regular
basis to ensure their emotional and physical needs are met.
“It’s a tragedy that nursing home residents — particularly those
suffering from dementia — continue to be separated from their families,”
said Senator Lombardi. “It’s frustrating and infuriating that the
social and psychological well-being of these residents is in jeopardy
because they are unable to communicate with those they love. They may be
safe from coronavirus, but they’re inflicted with a debilitating
In the legislation Senator Lombardi plans to propose, a person may
request to designate more than one essential caregiver based on their
past involvement and needs. The bill would require the Department of
Health to develop rules and regulations on designating an essential
caregiver and the criteria to qualify.
Seven states, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, South
Dakota and Michigan, currently have a variation of such a designation
that would allow visitation during COVID-19 restrictions.
For more information, contact: Daniel Trafford, Publicist State House Room 20 Providence, RI 02903 (401)222-1922
HARRISBURG — In an effort to help
judges navigate the complex issues involved in guardianship cases, the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Advisory Council on Elder Justice in the
Courts has published the first edition of the Pennsylvania Guardianship
a critical legal tool to assist persons with diminished capacity or
persons with a disability in managing their affairs. Determinations of
whether a guardianship is appropriate, or how to arrive at the least
restrictive form of guardianship, involves the striking of a balance
between protection and autonomy, and has always been a challenging
inquiry,” said Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd.
Serving as a valuable resource for
Pennsylvania’s Orphans’ Court judges, the bench book reflects the
accumulated wisdom of judges and practitioners who focus on
guardianships. It is a comprehensive reference guide that outlines the
laws pertaining to guardianships, offers alternatives to guardianships
and provides guidance on how to identify and appoint guardians.
such as this bench book supplement the numerous continuing education
programs that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court requires all Pennsylvania
jurists to complete each year.
LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Attorney General Dana Nessel
issued the following statement after the Michigan Senate on Thursday
overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 77, which addresses nursing home
residents and their use of electronic monitoring.
“Protecting the rights of Michigan’s senior population is one of my
most important responsibilities as Attorney General. With Thursday’s
passage of Senate Bill 77, our state is taking a giant leap forward in
promoting the health and welfare of those who reside in nursing homes.
Permitting the voluntary use of monitoring devices in these facilities
will serve as a powerful deterrent against elder abuse and may provide
law enforcement with the concrete evidence we need to secure a
conviction if or when any abuse takes place. I am encouraged to see the
Senate pass this important bill in such an overwhelming, bipartisan
manner and am hopeful the House of Representatives will act quickly to
pass this bill before the end of session.”
Auburn police arrest woman on charge of financial exploitation of elderly person (Source: City of Auburn)
By Olivia Gunn
Ala. (WTVM) - Auburn police arrested a Dadeville woman on a warrant
charging her with first-degree financial exploitation of an elderly
Harrelson Cosper, 56, was arrested Friday, October 2. Her arrest stems
from a criminal complaint that began in July 2020.
to Auburn police, officers received a report that involved the misuse
of funds belonging to a victim over 60 years old. Police say Cosper was
identified as a suspect and was arrested and charged after further
was transported to the Lee County Jail where she was held on a $7,500
bond. Auburn police say additional charges are possible and the case
remains under investigation.
LUND ALLEGES ATTORNEY INFILTRATED LUND'S PRIVILEGED DOCUMENTS AND GAINED
A TACTICAL ADVANTAGE IN THE CASE UNTIL HE WAS REMOVED BY COURT ORDER
PHOENIX, Oct. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Bradford Lund, grandson of the late Walt Disney,
recently, through his counsel, participated in oral argument to the
Arizona Appellate Court following briefing where he is seeking to
overturn the dismissal of a lawsuit against Arizona attorney Bryan Murphy, and his firm. Lund's
lawyer argued that Murphy should not be allowed to escape liability on a
"statute of limitations" argument that didn't apply to this case.
Rather, Lund likened the harm caused
by Murphy to pollution cases, trespass cases, and domestic violence
cases which are often defined as "continuing torts" and cannot be
subject to a statute of limitations argument to save the wrongdoer,
until the harm itself is finally abated. Thus, Lund argued, the statute of limitations did not begin to run until Murphy and his firm were finally removed from the case.
Lund alleged in his December 2016 lawsuit that attorney Murphy and his law firm of Burch & Cracchiolo, which represented Lund's
estranged relatives in an ultimately failed
guardianship/conservatorship case, committed "abuse of [judicial]
process" due to Murphy's improper possession, disclosure, and
utilization of Lund's confidential and "privileged" legal file which was delivered to him in error by Lund's former estate planning firm.
Upon discovery of the privileged material, instead of merely
returning the file back unexamined, or destroying the copy, an action
that Lund alleged was his duty, Lund's filing, in a brief to the Arizona Court of Appeals, describes what happened next:
"[I]n an atmosphere of scorched-earth killer litigation, even after being advised by Mr. Lund's then counsel that the file should not have been disclosed to him, [Murphy] refused to destroy or return the file as requested. Instead, [Murphy] almost immediately examined every page, disclosed it to key participants of the litigation
including the guardian ad litem, court appointed investigator, and
multiple others. [Murphy] also went on to make notes about intimate
confidential portions of the file. Armed with this improper information
which he never should have even set eyes upon, [Murphy] remained as
adversarial counsel in Mr. Lund's highly acrimonious case. – Lund Opening Brief, pages 1-2 (Emph. added).
Murphy was subsequently disciplined in the form of an "admonishment" for this same conduct. Lund alleges it took years of legal wrangling and challenges by Murphy and his firm before the trial judge finally granted Lund's demand for disqualification of them, and, in so doing, found in pertinent part:
"…if disqualification is denied, [Lund] will be in litigation against an adversary who is armed with the knowledge of the advice that his own prior counsel gave to him.
Litigating against a party who possesses such an advantage is
antithetical to the values of an adversary system. While the burdens
placed on Petitioners would be, in the final analysis, only financial,
quantifiable, and their choice to bear, the burdens faced by Mr. Lund
would be those of a system failure, incalculable, and beyond his
ability to fully know." – Disqualification Ruling by Judge Bassett, page
5. (Emph. added).
Lund's filings compare Murphy's
actions to "noxious pollution spewing through the air," meaning that the
pollution continues and thus no "statute of limitations" is applicable
until the "pollution" itself is abated. The brief on appeal stated: "The
poisonous 'tactical advantage' of [Murphy] continued…until the fatal
wound to justice was finally abated by the removal of [Murphy and his
firm] as lawyers in the case." Indeed, in arguing for his day in court,
Mr. Lund alleges that damages to him continue to this day and will be proven to be "irreparable" at a jury trial.
Attorneys Margaret E. Daum, Kristina Arianina and Callan Smith
While COVID-19 infections are widespread, the virus
disproportionately affects the nation’s most vulnerable populations,
including seniors. According to an updated estimate from two healthcare experts, 45% of U.S. COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Congress and the Trump administration have already provided funding
and resources to nursing homes and long-term care facilities throughout
the crisis, notably through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic
Security (CARES) Act [P.L. 116-136]. Given the disproportionate impact
of the virus on the residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted
living facilities, nursing homes and assisted living facilities should
expect federal legislative and oversight activity to continue to be a
priority throughout the remainder of this year and the next.
Ongoing federal legislative activity
Members on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress
have introduced legislation focused on COVID-19 testing, transparency
requirements, and reporting related to nursing homes and assisted living
For example, H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus
Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act — that passed the House of
Representatives on May 15, 2020 — would provide $150 million for CMS to
establish and implement Nursing Strike Teams. The funding would be
allocated to states, and Nursing Strike Teams would deploy to SNFs and
nursing facilities (NFs) within 72 hours of three residents or employees
being diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19.
S. 3758, the Nursing Home COVID-19 Protection and Prevention Act of
2020, introduced by Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), has received bipartisan
support. The bill would provide funds for states to support grouping
individuals based on COVID-19 status. The bill would also require CMS to
issue related guidance to outline which facilities would be permitted
to group individuals and strategies for effective implementation, and
provide detailed information regarding cases to residents, families, and
specified government agencies. The House companion, H.R. 6972, was
introduced by House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on
Health Chair Anna Eshoo (D-CA).
H.R. 6998, Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents and Workers During
COVID-19 Act of 2020, introduced by Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), has also
received strong support. The bill would modify several requirements
related to quality of care, worker safety, and transparency for SNFs and
NFs during the public health emergency. The bill would also require CMS
to distribute funds to allow states to establish strike teams that may
be deployed to SNFs and NFs within 72 hours of three or more COVID-19
diagnoses. The Senate companion, S. 3644, was introduced by Sen. Cory
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) also
introduced a bill to support nursing homes during the public health
emergency titled S. 4182, the Emergency Support for Nursing Homes and
Elder Justice Reform Act of 2020. The bill would provide nursing homes
with resources to respond to the COVID-19 emergency to protect the
health and safety of residents and workers, and it would reauthorize
funding for programs under the Elder Justice Act of 2009.
Ongoing oversight and investigations
In addition to funding and legislation, members of Congress are
conducting oversight of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
These activities are joined by new reviews initiated by the Department
of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
Office of Inspector General (OIG). These efforts include:
The House Committee on Ways and Means, House Committee on Energy
and Commerce, Senate Committee on Finance, and Senate Special Committee
on Aging have questioned how actions taken by the Administration and
the facilities themselves have caused the deaths of nursing home
residents and staff.
Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and
House Committee on Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR)
sent a letter in June to the HHS OIG requesting an investigation into
whether five states—California, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and
Pennsylvania—violated federal guidance and pressured nursing homes to
accept patients who tested positive for COVID-19.
Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote to the
HHS OIG in June requesting that the OIG look into reports that nursing
home residents across the country were instructed to hand over their
Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) to the nursing home or assisted living
facility in which they reside. House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and House Committee on Ways and Means
Chairman Richard Neal have also raised concerns in June about nursing
homes seizing residents’ EIPs.
In June, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent
letters to CMS and to the nation’s five largest for-profit nursing home
companies, asking for detailed information regarding expenditures of
coronavirus relief funds. After learning that one recipient, Ensign
Group, had not spent the more than $100 million they received,
Subcommittee Chairman Clyburn urged Ensign Group to spend the money for
lawful purposes or return it. On August 5, Ensign Group reported that it
had returned the funds.
In July, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and three other
senators wrote a letter to CDC Director Redfield and CMS Administrator
Verma, urging them to begin collecting and releasing demographic data on
residents and workers of nursing homes who are diagnosed with COVID-19.
Democrats in Congress have also used the nursing home crisis to
highlight the perceived mistakes of the Trump Administration. Sens. Bob
Casey (D-PA), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) released a report
detailing how the Trump Administration’s response to the COVID-19
pandemic contributed to the spread of the virus in nursing homes.
Additionally, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and House
Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
released a report on COVID-19 in Assisted Living Facilities, which found
that assisted living facilities have many of the same problems as
nursing homes in regards to COVID-19, but are receiving no help from the
Additionally, in March, DOJ launched a National Nursing Home
Initiative to pursue civil and criminal actions against nursing homes
that provide grossly substandard care to their residents. By March, DOJ
had initiated investigations into approximately 30 nursing facilities as
part of this effort. In August, DOJ requested COVID-19 data from the
governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, citing
orders that required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients.
The HHS OIG has announced multiple oversight activities related to
nursing homes, including: (1) an audit of selected nursing homes to
determine whether they have sufficient programs for infection prevention
and control and emergency preparedness; (2) an audit of nursing homes’
reporting of information related to COVID-19; (3) a nation-wide, two
part study to examine how nursing homes have met the challenges of
COVID-19; and (4) a review of oversight by State Survey Agencies and the
federal government during the pandemic.
With the election nearly two months away and a potential second wave
of the virus coming soon, it is likely the spotlight will remain on
nursing homes and how they are faring during the pandemic. Both parties
will continue to advocate for increased nursing home oversight,
transparency, testing, and reporting, and oversight activities and
legislation focused on these issues will likely continue to be a
priority in the 117th Congress.
Carter Williams, Who Unshackled Nursing House Residents, Dies at 97
In journal articles, conferences,
congressional hearings and conferences with regulators, Carter Catlett
Williams illuminated the miseries of nursing residence residents with
the sympathetic and descriptive powers of a novelist.
She advised tales like that of Miss
Cohen, whose restrictive weight-reduction plan prohibited the “heat,
aromatic chunk of challah” she had eaten on Friday nights her complete
life, inflicting Miss Cohen to refuse meals completely; and of Mr.
Denby, a “courtly, dignified former govt” who underwent “id loss” after
he grew to become “unable to rise to greet or bid farewell to his
visitor as a result of he’s tied to his chair.”
She amassed a whole lot of accounts
alongside these traces. They helped Ms. Williams affect the 1987 Nursing
House Reform Act, which required expert nursing services to keep up the
“bodily, psychological and psychosocial well-being of every resident.”
The regulation remodeled frequent
practices in nursing properties and strengthened a reform motion, a few
of whose arguments have been vindicated by the devastation of Covid-19.
“These phrases ‘psychosocial well-being’
are in there due to Carter,” stated Barbara Frank, a former affiliate
director of the Nationwide Residents’ Coalition for Nursing House
Reform. “That’s a contribution that we will hint again to Carter that
differentiates how some folks have fared higher in the course of the
Ms. Williams died on Sept. 8 at
residence in Gloucester, Va. She was 97. Her daughter, Mary Montague,
stated the trigger was a coronary heart assault.
Ms. Williams wished extra dignity and
autonomy for nursing residence residents. She targeted on what she
referred to as “the homely particulars of every day life in a nursing
residence,” like the flexibility for residents to decide on once they
eat meals. In the usage of restraints, just like the one confining Mr.
Denby, Ms. Williams discovered a central goal for her advocacy.
Between 1980 and 1987, at the least 35
nursing residence residents died due to the usage of restraints. One
lady was strangled when hers was placed on backward. The units included
vests strapped to chairs and bands tying fingers and ft to mattress
rails. As Ms. Williams continuously emphasised, restrained folks
couldn’t go to the lavatory and even scratch an itch.
In the course of the Nineteen Eighties,
41 p.c of nursing residence residents have been put in restraints daily.
In New York State, the determine was 60 p.c.
Ms. Williams had a revelation on a visit
to Sweden. She visited a nursing residence with 210 residents, none of
them restrained. Ulla Turemark, the house’s director of nursing, defined
her philosophy of “individualized care”: In distinction to People
establishments, which rotated workers, the Swedish nursing residence
requested its staff to get to know the residents.
That enabled them to determine, for
example, which sorts of chairs and beds could be safe for various
residents with different types of dangers.
“The concentrate on restraints form of
introduced residence what it means to concentrate on individualized
care,” Ms. Frank stated.
The 1987 regulation severely restricted
the usage of restraints. “Individualized care” grew to become a
extensively held objective: In 2006, a memo issued by the Division of
Well being and Human Providers about “nursing residence tradition
change” used the time period 28 occasions in simply 16 pages.
Right now, solely about 1 p.c of nursing residence residents get restrained, Ms. Frank stated.
“Carter, I’d say, was the star of the restraint-free motion,” she added.
Even after the 1987 regulation and laws
that adopted it, Ms. Williams’s imaginative and prescient of on a
regular basis life in nursing properties had not been totally realized.
Within the late Nineteen Nineties, she led the founding of Pioneer
Community, a nonprofit devoted to creating nursing properties extra
humane. It helps coalitions working to reform institutional tradition in
Pioneer Community’s suggestions embody
giving residents non-public rooms, facilitating time outside and
protecting workers and residents paired collectively, to allow them to
These measures have made a distinction
in the course of the pandemic, when the coronavirus has unfold in
nursing properties amongroommates and a altering array of workers
members engaged on rotating foundation, all socializing indoors.
“What we now have been working to do is
change the design philosophy and practices of care communities and
senior dwelling communities away from a medical establishment mannequin
into one that’s targeted on the individual themselves,” stated Penny
Prepare dinner, the president of Pioneer Community. “One wouldn’t assume
that that may assist in an infection prevention, however it does.”
Catharine Mott Catlett was born on Sept.
2, 1923, in San Antonio. Her father, Landon Carter Catlett Jr., an
aviator, was stationed at a army base there. He died in a aircraft crash
in 1925, and his spouse, Catharine Sanders Mott Catlett, a homemaker,
renamed her daughter Carter, the title her father had passed by.
Ms. Williams grew up in Gloucester,
within the Tidewater area of Virginia, the place her household had lived
because the Seventeenth century. Her residence was Toddsbury, a
Seventeenth-century manor, however she might afford her tuition at
Wellesley solely by way of a beneficiant scholarship and gross sales
from her mom’s modest daffodil farming operation.
In 1949, she acquired a grasp’s diploma
from the Simmons Faculty of Social Work in Boston, the place she met T.
Franklin Williams, who was attending Harvard Medical Faculty. They
married in 1951.
In 1968, the household moved to
Rochester, N.Y., the place Ms. Williams labored at an area nursing
residence and noticed the indignities that may inspire her activism. In
1983, her husband grew to become the director of the Nationwide
Institute on Getting older, a division of the Nationwide Institutes of
Well being. Ms. Williams grew to become concerned in nationwide
politics, and he or she and her husband grew to become “an influence
couple on the planet of getting old,” Ms. Prepare dinner stated.
Mr. Williams died in 2011. Along with
her daughter, Ms. Williams is survived by a son, Thomas Nelson Williams;
six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
In Ms. Williams’s remaining years, her
protection of outdated age grew to become private. When an airline
safety employee referred to Ms. Williams as “younger woman,” Ms.
Montague recalled, her mom replied, “Don’t rob me of my years.”
As her profession slowed down, she
discovered time to look by way of a small, battered field of letters
from her father. In opening remarks at a Pioneer Community convention,
she used the expertise to indicate the training and development
attainable even on the finish of a life.
“Suppose you didn’t know your father’s
love and his very lively half in your first 22 months till you have been
in your eighth decade,” she stated. “It’s the fantastic journey of my
Trilogy Health Services did not comment on what happened at its Delphi facility. The company cited privacy concerns.
(Brock E.W. Turner, WFIU/WTIU News)
Trilogy Health Services did not comment on
what happened at its Delphi facility. The company cited privacy
(Brock E.W. Turner, WFIU/WTIU News)
For months, thousands of residents in Indiana nursing
homes have been isolated. What began as an early-pandemic protection is
now eroding their quality of life.
Despite forming an essential and compassionate caregiver program, the
Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has deferred much of the
oversight and management to facilities themselves. Caregivers are caught
in the middle and often left powerless.
Vickie Ayres fights back tears as she remembers her mother, Carolyn,
who died just last month after a stay in at St. Elizabeth Healthcare
Campus in Delphi.
“She loved to travel and eat out and we would take her out several
times a week for outings, and when they locked down that was over,”
Ayres said. “They wouldn’t even take them out in the facility bus for a
drive around or anything. They took everybody and made their worlds that
were small, even smaller.”
Allegations Of Mistreatment At An Indiana Nursing Home
St. Elizabeth Healthcare Campus is owned by one of the Midwest’s
largest nursing home operators—Trilogy Health Services. When the
pandemic began, Ayres says she considered moving her mother out of the
facility and to her home, but she was concerned because there wasn’t an
accessible bathroom in her farmhouse.
“I didn’t feel like I was set-up properly in my home to be able to
have her here,” Ayres admits. “Six months later, knowing what I know, do
I wish I had done that?Yes.”
The place where her mom’s bathroom would have been is still
unfinished down the hall from her home office. Contractors have been
hard to find, she said.
But Ayres believes caregivers shouldn’t have to make that
decision—seeing a loved one or leaving them in a place where extra care
can be provided.
The situation quickly spiraled. Ayres says staff at St. Elizabeth
Healthcare kept her mom isolated in the facility’s COVID-19 wing for
weeks—even after she tested negative.
The company—which is one of the largest nursing home operators in the
Midwest declined an interview, and refused comment on the facility’s
polices in a provided statement.
“Out of respect for the privacy of our residents and their families,
we cannot comment on specific details regarding those in our care,” the
According to Ayres, it gets worse, she says her mother and other residents went months without receiving proper showers.She alleges staff restricted visits—even window visits—from her and other caregivers because “they were too dangerous.”
Ayres says she made the decision to move her mom due to the lack of visitation and her declining health.She would eventually test positive for COVID-19 leading Ayres believe her initial test was a false positive.
The facility’s owner, Trilogy, wrote it will, “continue to work
closely with the ISDH, pursue transparency, provide quality care, and
put our residents and their families first, just as we always have.”
Carolyn died on August 26 at the age of 81 due to complications of COVID-19.
Guidence Shifts Power To Facilities Instead Of Caregivers
Andrea Smothers is the ombudsman who serves the area, she says
nursing homes across Indiana have been forced to interpret vague
guidance and that’s leading to significant visitation variation.
“The guidance that they were given pretty much from our perspective
as advocates gave a lot of control to those facilities on how or when,
or under what circumstances they would allow visitors,” she said.
For example, a facility is not recommended to resume visitation
unless it has had no new cases for 14 days, its county positivity rate
remains low, and residents are notified.
Yet, multiple ombudsmen—who serve as advocates for caregivers and
their loved ones—say facilities are doing a poor job communicating these
visitation policies and updating caregivers on changes.
Those changes and that lack of communication, I think build the distrust by the caregivers,” she said.
However, a state program designed to increase access to facilities is plagued with problems of its own.
Instead of creating uniform visitation protocols, Indiana’s
essential and compassionate caregiver program has produced a patchwork
of guidance that experts and caregivers say is poorly communicated,
while also giving facilities too much discretion.
The department declined an interview, but provided a statement
saying, in part, “Recognizing the importance of this [essential
caregiver] role, we have encouraged this in facilities.”
Experts say the difference between “encouraging” and requiring is important.Under the current language, ISDH effectively lacks enforcement or oversight.
“Applications are not required to be submitted to the state
Department of Health, so we do not have any data on the number of
applications accepted or denied,” the department wrote.
During the state’s weekly COVID-19 briefing, Dr. Lindsay Weaver,
Chief Medical Officer for ISDH, said caregivers can still file a
complaint with ISDH if they feel a facility has wrongly denied their
application or isn’t meeting visitation requirements.
“Our infection preventionists work very closely with the long-term
care associations we have biweekly phone calls work with them to really
work through what does visitation look like and how we can do it
safety,” she said the department works with facilities and trade groups
to determine what is feasible.
“Of course, we always take family complaints or concerns and we’ll follow up on those,” Weaver said.
However, that process also favors facilities according Smothers.
“When I filed complaints on behalf of residents and their families
who couldn’t get in, as an essential family caregiver, I got a very
length, nice email from the surveyor saying, well, it’s up the facility,
and there’s nothing more I can do.”
Families with loved ones in long-term care facilities know their time
is limited. They’re tired how it is, and many don’t have the resources
or time to file complaints with facilities or the state.
Nearly everyone interviewed, agrees tightening visitation at the
beginning of the pandemic was the right decision, but few see the
rationality six months later.
“What we’re doing is wrong,” Ayres said. “And it’s wrong to an extent that I don’t think many people are aware of.”
“How do we justify that?There may have been no on-on-one interaction that wasn’t supervised,” she said.
Mary Swinford, the Deputy Director of the state’s long-term care
ombudsman program understands the initial hesitancy, but believes now is
the time to find a solution.
“We do owe it to our seniors, our residents to continue to advocate
for them to have these visits. These visits are vital to residents.”
Ayres has a hard time understanding why more people aren’t outraged a
policy made out of necessity months ago remains in effect when rapid
testing capacity is available for athletes, college students, and other
“It is abuse,” she said. “At this point it is abuse because it is
long-term. It isn’t the short-term health crisis solution to the
And that’s why she and others say they’re going to keep advocating for visitation.
“[Facilities and the state] could make it work, and it’s not that they can’t,” she said. “It’s that they won’t.And
that’s wrong,” Ayres said with tears in her eyes. “Even though my
journey is over with my mom, I have to speak for those people that are
decision to place an elderly relative in a care home is a difficult one
at the best of times, but the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions
on visiting make it even harder. For one family it seemed like the best
solution before the virus arrived - but early last month they reversed
their decision and brought 95-year-old Rita home.
late on a Saturday night, and a private ambulance pulls up outside a
care home in Norwich. Rita Perrott, a frail 95-year-old, is helped out
of the home in a wheelchair.
shouts her granddaughter, Anna, delightedly. They give each other a
long hug and a kiss. It's the first time in months such normal physical
contact has been possible.
Anna appears almost giddy with the audacity of what they're doing.
"We've stolen grandma!" she proclaims.
"A kidnap?" Rita asks, playing along with the joke.
"It's a heist!" says Anna. "We've come late at night to steal grandma back!"
think they noticed," observes Ethan, one of the ambulance crew. The
care home, of course, has agreed for her to be discharged.
Rita in the ambulance
gently tells Rita they're on their way to the home of her
daughter-in-law, Sue - Anna's mother. She adds that the reason for the
move is that it had become almost impossible to visit her in the care
is surprised by the late-night raid - they had no time to warn her in
advance - but delighted that she will be able to spend more time with
"Your poor mother!" she jokes.
Rita has dementia, and has grown increasingly weak and frail. She can no longer walk and even finds standing up painful.
and the rest of the family are going to care for Rita now. The doctors
say Rita is reaching the end of her life and the family could not bear
the thought of her dying alone in the care home.
the ambulance crew is struck by the incongruity of what they're doing.
"We only ever take people into care homes," they tell Anna and her mum.
It's the first time they've taken anyone out of one.
had been in the home, Homestead House in Norwich, since the start of
the year. It began as temporary respite care, but morphed into a
permanent arrangement. Then coronavirus came along, and scuppered all
the family's hopes for the part they would play in Rita's care in her
the home in lockdown, at first visitors could get no further than the
car park, with Anna and Rita separated by a glass door, speaking to each
other by telephone.
visits were limited to one person visiting every two weeks, at a
distance of 2m and wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE).
It was a far cry from Rita's early weeks in the home, when Anna had even been able to help bathe her grandmother.
it had been an agonising decision for the family to place her there,
Rita agreed it was the best care option for her, because everyone in the
family was leading such busy and complicated lives. And she says she
enjoyed living in the home, and making friends with the other residents.
years she'd been cared for by her son, John, Anna's father, but he
developed serious health problems and eventually had to have a leg
amputated. For a while he struggled even to look after himself. A spell
in hospital for Rita also exacerbated her problems; it was noticeable
that her dementia was growing worse.
Anna, Rita and John in March, discussing the future with a representative of the county council
one point mother and son were both in hospital at the same time. When
Rita was discharged, she was sent to Homestead House while a more
permanent care solution was arranged, with Norfolk County Council
agreeing to fund her social care.
you just keep a troshin'," Rita says a few days after the heist, lying
in her newly delivered hospital bed in Sue's spare room, and being
waited on by the family. Rita has a wealth of old rural Norfolk sayings.
"Keep a troshin'" means to carry on threshing.
is carrying on gamely. Basking in the warmth of her family's love and
care, she has rallied to some extent and has been sipping sherry from a
straw, along with lots of tea and cake. She has a wicked sense of humour
and says, with a glint in her eye, that she's looking forward to
watching the Tour de France later.
"She likes their legs, you see," explains Anna. "She's only human."
Anna, Rita and Sue
For 95 years Rita has been at the heart of a close family.
mum, Sue, who is divorced from Anna's father, says Rita practically
brought up her three grandchildren - Anna, Elly and Rachel.
"We had some good times all together," Sue recalls. "Lots of laughs."
"Very happy memories… It's been lovely," agrees Rita.
"This is so nice, thank you all," she says, taking quick, short shallow breaths.
"And I do appreciate all you have done. It's such a lovely feeling being loved, and loving back.
that nice when you can look back on a happy time, with a dear little
family, who've made me so welcome, and so much appreciated. And I thank
you all," she says. Then she punctures the moment before it gets too
maudlin: "Speech over…"
family says they understand that care homes have to be strict about
visiting, in order to keep coronavirus out. They have no criticism of
the care Rita received.
But as her health deteriorated they found the restrictions on visits increasingly intolerable.
lost a lot of weight in the home, and as she grew weaker she was taken
to hospital for a few days. And there, it turned out, visiting
arrangements were much more flexible.
"We were delighted when she went into hospital, because we could go and see her," says Anna. "It was really lovely."
within a few days the doctors said they couldn't help her. She was at
the end of life, they said, and would need to return to the care home.
Anna, Rita sipping sherry, and Elly
asked about the home's visiting arrangements when someone is dying and
was told that one family member could visit twice a week for just 20
minutes a time. Again, they would have to wear full PPE and remain at a
distance of 2m.
not even able to hold your loved one's hand when they're dying," says
Anna. "And the chances are you'd miss it anyway. The idea of her being
on her own to die just sounded barbaric and very cruel, not how we'd
planned for that to happen."
most important time of grandma's life, being with her family was taken
away from us," says Sue. "That's why we made our decision for her to
recently retired as a nurse, so feels confident that she can care for
Rita. But she says she's aware that many families in a similar situation
would not have the space, time, or experience to do the same thing.
Rita's son John, her ex-husband, agrees. Despite the divorce, the family has remained close.
Rita, Anna and John earlier this year
greatest fear was that Mum would have passed away and we would not have
been able to see her," he says. "I think there needs to be more flex in
these arrangements. We support care homes in what they're doing, but at
the same time it's a huge tension."
so-called heist was planned in a hurry, out of a fear that the care
home might lock down completely, and not let any of the residents out.
Now the family is concerned that restrictions on household mixing will become tighter.
Rita came home, other relatives have also been able to visit Rita, and
will continue to do so as long as the rule of six remains in place. They
are determined to make the most of the time they have together.
family thinks Rita would have probably died by now had she remained in
the home and they believe her days are numbered even now she is with
them. It's something they have been coming to terms with over the last
few weeks, and they speak openly and honestly with Rita about it.
"It's not just about dying, but dying well," says Anna.
"We're waiting for a chair upstairs," says Sue. "It's standing room only in heaven but Grandma needs a chair."
"We'll know when it's time," adds Rita.
I asked her how she feels about dying.
"It's fine with me. Everything has worked out ever so well. You only live once don't you?"
"Will you be sad when she dies?" Anna asks her sister, Elly.
but I am the person I am because of her and what she did for me as a
child," says Elly. "It would just be the end of a lovely life. It will
be tainted with sadness because I can't imagine life without Grandma.
But it's ending how she would have wanted it to end."
On cue, Grandma suddenly breaks into an old song.
"Now is the hour for me to say goodbye…"
"Oh blimey," exclaims Anna.
"Soon I'll be sailing far across the sea," Rita continues.
"While I'm away, oh please remember me…
"And I can't remember the rest!"
The family breaks into laughter. It will no doubt be a good way to go.