VIRGINIA — Officials of Edgewood Vista’s assisted living facility in Virginia said Wednesday that they took “immediate and swift action and self-reported” to the county the accusations of resident abuse by three aides at the facility.
The aides were found by a state investigation to have verbally, physically and emotionally abused elderly residents. Those aides were suspended and have since been fired.
The report, made by the Office of Health Facility Complaints at the Minnesota Health Department, also found Edgewood Vista to have inadequate procedures for internal reporting of suspected maltreatment by staff members.
The state agency began investigating complaints last April and has since made several unannounced visits. Correction orders were issued under threat of fines.
Edgewood Vista has complied with the orders, state officials said.
The three employees were not named in the report, which covered allegations dating back to last fall. The findings will appear on the nursing aides’ background checks and a state official said they will be disqualified from working in similar jobs. They have a right to appeal the findings.
Investigators were unable to contact one employee by phone or subpoena. A second denied the allegations and denied witnessing the incidents but admitted to taking a picture of one of the residents and posting it on the Internet. The employee said she removed the picture when she was told it wasn’t allowed. The third employee told investigators about some of the alleged abuse but said she didn’t report it and that she went through a 30-day evaluation for using bad judgment.
Here’s the official response by Edgewood Vista regarding the issue:
“The unfortunate events … in no way reflect the standard of care Edgewood Vista - Virginia demands from its employees.
“We took immediate and swift action and self-reported to local county authorities. The individuals were immediately removed from the workplace and remained on suspension during the internal investigation. Following our investigation we permanently terminated employment of all involved individuals.
“Edgewood has a strong resident care-centered reputation, we are committed to hire, train, and educate all care-givers to safeguard our residents and ensure the highest quality of care. Edgewood conducts pre-employment drug/alcohol screenings and complies with state required criminal background checks. In addition, we enforce the requirements set forth by the state of Minnesota that all caregivers and employees are mandated reporters of abuse.
“The behaviors and actions of the employees terminated from employment in no way reflect the mission and vision of Edgewood Vista.”
Witnesses in the report told state investigators they had seen incidents of one employee telling a resident who had dementia and acute depression to shut up, call him a “retard” and place him in a corner in a sun room because he was “naughty.”
In addition, witnesses said they saw two employees hit another client, who had Alzheimer's disease, with foam “water noodles” and put their cold hands on the client's neck to startle her and also said one employee told a resident who had Alzheimer's that her husband was dead.
In one case, a witness told investigators, the three employees antagonized a woman with Alzheimer’s disease by pinching her on the side of her breast, slapping her buttocks and bouncing a rubber ball off her buttocks. When the resident was teased she “got ‘meaner’ and more depressed” and would not come out of her room, the report said.
The employees also are accused of slapping one male resident in the mouth and telling another to “shut up.” Another female resident was told she was “crazy” and was badgered until she yelled to be left alone, the report said.