4-month search ends in arrest of missing nursing home worker

We have written before about the concerns many in Alabama have about the care -- or rather the lack thereof -- which too many vulnerable loved ones experience in nursing homes. Despite federal and state laws defining minimum standards of care, neglect and abuse does happen.

If the legal processes work as they should, individual caregivers suspected and found guilty of mistreatment rightly face some form of punishment for their crime. But sometimes it's not simply the actions of one bad person. Sometimes general conditions of abuse and neglect are fostered when nursing home operators fail to enforce proper care policies.

For the sake of all those who need to depend on such homes, accountability is essential. But it often doesn't happen without the diligence and resources of attorneys who know what to look for and what legal remedies may be available.

This comes to mind in connection with a story we learned about out of Florence, Alabama. Authorities confirm that after a four-month effort, police have arrested and charged a former nursing home worker for the alleged intentional abuse of a 96-year-old woman.

Officials say the 27-year-old female apparently got aggravated with the nursing home resident one day back in August. She allegedly assaulted the elderly woman, twisting her arm to the point of bruising. The caregiver is alleged to have also hit the victim on the head, leaving several bumps.

Police in Florence say the nursing home reported the incident and that led to the woman being indicted in August, but she went missing. It took until this month for a federal task force to track her down to a town 50 miles away in Tennessee.

The suspect is now reportedly free on bail. She is due to be arraigned on a felony charge next month. If convicted, the punishment could be 2-20 years in prison.

Source: Times Daily, "Former nursing home employee indicted for elder abuse," Tom Smith, Dec. 23, 2014

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