The newspaper report was disturbing. Anderina Sanderson, 89, who had dementia, was assaulted after walking into the room of an 86-year-old male resident at the Central Park Nursing Home in suburban Windsor on April 19, 2007. She died four days later. Three days before he assaulted Mrs Sanderson, the man repeatedly hit another woman to the head and face.
This report comes from a newspaper in Sydney, Australia…but it could have been from any state or city in the United States. Just use the search terms “assault nursing homes” in Google and you will get over 81 million hits!
We have handled numerous nursing home assault cases. One of the more recent cases resulted in the death of an elderly Southwest Virginia grandmother who was beaten and pushed to the floor by another resident with a known violent history. You need to ask some important questions if your loved one is moved into a nursing home and has a roommate:
1. Has the facility encountered any problems with aggression from the roommate?
2. Does the roommate have any particular idiosyncrasies of which you need to be aware?
3. Who was previously rooming with the roommate? Go ask the previous roommate or his/her family about that individual.
4. I encourage families to ask the facility Administrator if the new roommate has a criminal record. The Administrator is unlikely to answer this question but just asking it certainly puts the facility on notice of a potential problem.
My Take: We place family members in nursing homes because they can no longer take care of themselves and need a SAFE and SECURE environment. Assaults are inexcusable!