A nursing home employee was just arrested in connection with an 88-year-old patient’s head injuries.
Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh told CBS-11 News that James Seaton, a Kaufman Healthcare Center employee, was taken into custody on a felony charge of aggravated assault, which is injury to elderly. According to the police chief, Sammy Berry was injured while under Seaton’s care.
Not only did Seaton injure the woman, he attempt to conceal the head injury and blame someone else, according to CBS-11 News. Seaton is in the Kaufman County jail.
Mrs. Berry is wheelchair bound and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She has a gash on her forehead and a good deal of her face is bruised. She has been moved to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, according to CBS-11 News.
Although the facility’s attorney stated that patient safety is its prime focus, the CBS-11 I-Team reported that the nursing home has been cited by the Texas Department of Aging & Disability Services:
- April 2011: The Department discovered that the facility provided sub-standard quality of care. Kaufman Healthcare Center paid a $2,405 civil penalty.
- February 2012: The state found the facility had sub-standard quality of care. Kaufman Healthcare Center paid a $6,500 civil penalty, and the agency would not pay for new admissions for most of April 2012.
- March 2012: The Department substantiated a complaint of verbal, mental abuse against a patient. Because an employee was found to be at fault, Kaufman Healthcare Center was not cited and procedures and protocols were found to be in compliance.
The family says it is relieved that Seaton is in custody, but is horrified at what happened to Mrs. Barry. Jessica Berry, the woman’s great grand-daughter told CBS-11 News, “I’m still in shock about everything. It’s like a nightmare that I can’t wake up from.”
We have long written about the growing issue of elder abuse in nursing homes. And, although news of such abuse routinely makes headlines, the deplorable practice continues. This is significant because the senior population is expanding and living longer and more and more, people find themselves faced with the challenging decision of placing older relatives and loved ones in nursing home care. Unfortunately, family and loved ones seeking care of their seniors are sometimes left with very limited options and loved ones often suffer devastating indignities that include a broad array of abuse and neglect.
Some 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease today and, by 2025, that number could reach 7.1 million, the Alzheimer’s Association reports. Meanwhile, a 2001 Congressional report revealed that nearly one out of every three United States nursing homes were cited for at least one abuse violation over a two-year period. “In over 1,600 of these nursing homes, the abuse violations were serious enough to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury,” the report stated.