New York Nursing Home Abuse Caught on Videotape

New York Nursing Home Abuse Caught on Videotape

Following an intensive investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office some 19 employees of two state nursing homes have been arrested on criminal charges of patient neglect and medical records tampering.

The case has brought nationwide attention due to the severity of some of the evidence, including videotaped footage of nursing home staff socializing while a patients sat in their beds without care, including some who were left in their own feces and urine for hours. Nursing home employees also deliberately moved “call-buttons” out of the reach of patients in order to rest or sleep, sometimes even to watch movies or socialize.

The arrests occurred after a month-long investigation headed by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The abuses occurred at the Jennifer Matthew Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rochester and also at the Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility in Cortland. Both nursing homes are located in upstate New York.

Because incidences of nursing home abuse are often difficult to prove in court, the investigation included hidden videotapes. The case was one of the first investigations into nursing home abuse that has used cameras in the country.

Attorney General Spitzer likened the case to an illegal drug surveillance investigation. A report issued by Mr. Spitzer’s office showed that 98 percent of nursing homes in New York failed to meet federal staffing recommendations.

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