New York Charges Against Healthcare Workers

Financial and Physical Abuse Rampant Among Seniors

Is your elderly loved one at risk of nursing home abuse or neglect? It is important to remember that elder abuse can take many different forms, from financial scams to physical violence. Indeed, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, a home health aide and a certified nurse aide have been charged with elder abuse in New York. The home health aide committed reprehensible acts of elder financial abuse, swindling an elderlyNew York City Nursing Home Abuse woman out of about $340,000 over the last seven years. The certified nurse aide did not steal money from an elderly client, but she has been charged with assault against an elderly nursing home resident in Far Rockaway.

Since 2008, the home health aide had been “writing herself numerous checks” from the bank account of an 84-year-old woman, and she also “persuaded the victim to list her as the primary beneficiary in two separate wills.” The victim had an account with JP Morgan Chase, and when the bank noticed unusual activity, the bank alerted authorities. The home health aide eventually accepted a plea, which resulted in her conviction of second-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal tax fraud. In connection with her plea agreement, she “signed a confession of judgment for the money she stole, agreed to pay more than $46,000 . . . for unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties, and renounced her right to inherit from the victim’s will.” She will also face up to four years in prison.

In the case of physical abuse, a certified nurse aidewas arrested after the 80-year-old victim received treatment for injuries at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. The victim alleges that the certified nurse aide pushed her and hit her “multiple times in the arm and shoulder,” and that she also pushed her head “into a bed rail.” Based on the allegations, the aide has been charged with second-degree assault, as well as two separate counts of “endangering the welfare and willful violation of health laws,” according to prosecutors.

Signs of Physical Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation

Given that forms of elder abuse can vary widely, their signs and symptoms can be quite disparate, too. In the recent stories out of New York, caregivers were charged with crimes connected to physical abuse, as well as to financial or material exploitation of an older adult. How can you tell if someone you love has been injured by one of these forms of elder abuse?

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) and the Administration on Aging (AOA), physical elder abuse involves physical force against a senior that leads to personal injuries, pain, and/or impairment. It frequently involves the following acts of violence:

  • Hitting;
  • Beating;
  • Pushing;
  • Shaking;
  • Slapping;
  • Kicking;
  • Pinching;
  • Burning;
  • Force-feeding; and
  • Physical punishment.

Common signs and symptoms of physical abuse include but are not limited to:

  • Bruises, cuts, open wounds, and untreated injuries;
  • Broken bones;
  • Sprains or dislocations;
  • Signs of physical restraints, such as rope marks;
  • Sudden changes in an older person’s behavior; and
  • An elderly person’s report of physical abuse.

Financial abuse has very different signs and symptoms. Unlike abuse that can produce bodily injuries, financial exploitation of an elderly person is defined as “the illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets,” according to the NCEA and the AOA. Signs can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Changes in banking practices;
  • Sudden withdrawals;
  • Names added to an elder’s account or cards;
  • Abrupt changes to a will;
  • Disappearance of possessions;
  • Discovery of an elder’s forged signature on a financial document;
  • Unexplained asset transfer to a family member or caregiver; and
  • An elderly person’s report of financial abuse.

If you are concerned that your elderly parent or loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact an experienced elder abuse attorney to discuss your situation.

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