California Nursing Facility Indicted for Abuse

<"">Nursing home abuse, a seeming epidemic afflicting some of our most vulnerable citizens, is demeaning, painful, and dangerous. But, every now and then, justice appears to prevail, for instance at a Montrose skilled nursing facility.

The facility, the Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing and Wellness Center and its former administrator, Phyllis Paver, have been indicted on felony charges and neglect in the death of a mentally ill patient, said the LA Times, citing authorities. A grand jury in Los Angeles handed down the indictments in June; an arraignment occurred last week, and the trial is scheduled for September 6, added the LA Times, according to state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing and Wellness Care admitted 34-year-old Charles Morrill, a suicidal man with a history of metal illness, said the LA Times adding that, according to the statement, Verdugo Valley neither had sufficient staff nor adequate training to handle mentally ill patients, explained the LA Times.

Mr. Morrill was unsuccessful in his first suicide attempts in which he set off a fire extinguisher in his mouth and wheeled himself into the street, where he attempted to get hit by a car, said the LA Times, citing a website report by the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. Each attempt was followed by hospitalization and acceptance back into Verdugo Valley.

Mr. Morrill was finally successful in his suicide attempts, using a fire extinguisher in his mouth. His suicide took place just one month after his first admission to Verdugo Valley, according to a statement issued by Harris, said the LA Times.

The facility remains open but will have its license and federal funding revoked if a felony conviction is made, added Harris.
We have long been following the horrendous abuses against seniors spanning physical, emotional, chemical, and sexual abuse; neglect; and even workers who have abused residents as part of pranks against each other.

A study on which we previously wrote revealed that about one in seven older New Yorkers suffers from some type of elder or nursing home abuse. The Record Online cited a large study of residents over the age of 60 that found that in 2008 alone, a shocking 1 in 13 older New Yorkers was victimized. New York State is the operator of 2,000 group homes, which means that the state is responsible to care and protect about 10,000 residents with what The New York Daily News described as “severe physical and mental disabilities.” According to
The New York Times, the state is not doing its job, wrote the Daily News, and group home abuse is running rampant.

We’ve long written that The elderly are among our most defenseless citizens and, often, we have no choice but to place our older relatives in the care of others. Sadly, reports of nursing home abuse are on the rise as are nanny cams catching nursing home workers abusing residents. Recently, adding to the list of indignities, we wrote that 15 percent of U.S. nursing homes have received deficiency citations for the ways in which they manage infection.

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