Two certified nurse assistants working at the Macclenny Nursing and Rehab Center were arrested this week on charges of physically abusing a resident. More specifically, the CNAs were accused of forcefully pushing the resident into her bed, pulling her up by a shirt wrapped around her neck, throwing her into a wheelchair and slapping her. The resident is 85 years old, blind and suffering from a spinal injury. The incident was captured on surveillance video footage. The CNAs were fired.
Macclenny Nursing and Rehab Center is rated two out of five stars by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, which is considered “below average.” It received only one star for “health inspections.” Macclenny is located one county to the west of Jacksonville’s Duval County. CMS’ website is located at www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare.
Video footage is much more common today than in the past and it is greatly changing how we perceive claims of abuse, whether it occurs in the context of nursing home care or the degree of forced used by law enforcement. This is a very good thing. Our Jacksonville nursing home injury lawyers routinely investigate and prosecute nursing home abuse and neglect cases; however, unless there is video footage, situations in which intentional assault by nursing home staff can be proven is very rare.
When there is no footage of the actual abuse, these cases rarely see the light of day. Often, the victims of abuse suffer from cognitive decline and make poor historians. They may forget the abuse occurred or otherwise be unable to express themselves in a clear manner. Of course, video footage changes all of this.
While it has not been reported how the video footage in this case was obtained, we have seen an increase in family members, who are suspicious of abuse, putting “nanny cams” in a resident’s room to catch an abuser. News stories across the country reflect many instances of assault by nursing home staff being caught by hidden cameras.
When handling nursing home abuse cases, it is very important that an attorney investigate the hiring process used by the operators of the nursing home to determine the suitability of the candidate. While criminal background checks are almost always done, is is common that contact to prior employers is not done. When we contact those prior employers, we may learn of previous conduct on the part of the employee that would have been disqualifying had the nursing home performed its due diligence.
In addition, it is important to review other complaints of abuse against the same employees. We often find that claims of abuse are not taken seriously by nursing home operators. The failure to fully investigate prior allegations of abuse can lead to damning evidence against the managers and operators of the nursing home.
Macclenny Nursing and Rehab Center is a 120 bed nursing home operated by the Sovereign Healthcare Holdings, Inc., which manages 28 nursing homes in Florida and Georgia. In the Northeast Florida area, Sovereign operates the following nursing homes: Jacksonville Nursing and Rehab Center located at 4134 Dunn Avenue Jacksonville; Macclenny Nursing And Rehab Center located at 755 S 5th St, Macclenny; and Moultrie Creek Nursing And Rehab Center located at 200 Mariner Health Way in Saint Augustine.