Agents for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation issued a warrant on Tuesday to search for additional evidence as part of a three-month long probe into the Alzheimer’s Care of Commerce, a facility 65 miles northeast of Atlanta.
Nearly two dozen former employees are facing more than 70 charges stemming from cruelty afflicted upon Alzheimer’s patients; these included documented acts of physical abuse such as staff members striking patients.
Arrest warrants have been issued for 21 employees, according to ABC News, who will be charged with cruelty to people 65 or older, abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
Elder and infirmed abuse in nursing homes – which can include physical beatings, sexual assaults, verbal chidings, and financial theft – have steadily been on the rise.
A congressional report released last year revealed the unpleasant results of a Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee study, which found more that 30 percent of nursing homes in the United States – 5,283 facilities – were cited for almost 9,000 instances of abuse over a two-year period.
Problems reported included untreated bedsores, inadequate medical care, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene.
For example, patients in some facilities are often left to soil themselves as either there are too few attendants to assist them to the bathroom or patients are intentionally neglected.
In 1,601 cases of documented abuse violations, the report found they were serious enough to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury.
In some situations, a staff member was accused of committing physical or sexual abuse when bathing or changing residents. In others, employees were cited for willfully failing to protect people from abuse by other residents.
Instances of residents being punched, slapped, chocked, or kicked resulted in fractured bones and lacerations. One disturbing case mentioned in the study detailed how an attendant entered a resident’s room and broke her nose over simply being annoyed with having to care for the ailing woman.
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