Earlier this year, an elderly resident at Wood Glen Alzheimer’s Community in Miami Township, Ohio, was allegedly beaten by a nursing aide, and he died shortly afterward. A former nursing aide was officially indicted for patient abuse.

On January 25, 2019, John D. Sexton’s son arrived at his father’s care home and saw his father’s bloody sheets being removed from the bed as the floor was mopped. His father’s face was severely bruised, and the bones around his eyes were fractured. Sexton’s health declined rapidly after the incident, and he died two months later.

Aide Indicted on Patient Abuse Charge

Vanesha A. Rice, the nursing home aide who allegedly hit Sexton, was initially let go from Wood Glen. Now, a grand jury has decided that she should be charged with patient abuse, which is a fourth-degree felony.

When there is the chance that an individual may be charged with a felony, a grand jury is formed, and the prosecutor presents them with the evidence. Afterward, the members of the grand jury vote amongst themselves to determine whether or not an individual should be charged.

After looking at Sexton’s medical files and hearing witness statements about this incident, the grand jury felt that there was enough evidence to move forward with a trial for patient abuse.

Alzheimer’s Patient Later Died From Injuries

After the incident, both sides of Sexton’s face were deeply bruised around his eyes. Medical reports also showed that the bones around Sexton’s eyes were fractured, according to his attorney.

After receiving the injuries, Sexton’s family moved him to a different home for his safety. However, because of the injuries and the shock of the move, Sexton’s health declined rapidly, and he passed away two months later.

Aide Claims She Was “Overworked and Tired”

When the former aide explained her side of the story, she said the alleged incident happened because she was overworked and tired. When she encountered a patient who was agitated, she struck out harder than she intended to in order to protect herself from him.

When families place their loved ones in homes, especially in homes that specialize in dealing with residents who have Alzheimer’s, they expect that the staff there will be able to deal with their loved one’s specific needs. One of those needs is a compassionate approach when the resident becomes aggressive.

As the disease worsens, people with Alzheimer’s can become more agitated, which may make them aggressive. 

There are many better ways for aides to handle patient aggression, like speaking calmly to them, listening to their concerns, and letting the patients know their concerns are being heard. Giving them a set routine or distracting them are also helpful ways to manage behavior.

Alzheimer’s patients require a high standard of care due to their cognitive decline. They need compassionate, skilled care from aides who understand the nature of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Unfortunately, Sexton may not have received that from the staff at Wood Glen.

Understaffing and Nursing Home Abuse

This is, unfortunately, a common theme in nursing homes — an overworked staff member lashes out at their residents. The resident becomes abusive toward the aide, and sometimes, as in this case, it can have fatal consequences.

Facilities should strive to ensure that they are not understaffed so that the caretakers will be less stressed and tired. Being exhausted and highly stressed can increase the chances that the staff members won’t be as attentive to the residents’ needs. In the process, these staff members may miss some of the warning signs that the residents are becoming agitated.

Stress and fatigue can also cause the staff members to be more likely to lash out at the residents and harm them.  However, being tired and frustrated is never a good enough excuse to hurt someone else.

If your loved one has been abused by nursing home staff, you may have legal rights. Contact the Nursing Home Abuse Center today if you have questions about an incident that occurred.



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