Thursday, June 04, 2009

Home care worker neglect charges

Saint Paul, Minnesota (June 3, 2009) - According to Pioneer Press/Twin Cities, a home care worker has been shown on videotape neglecting to feed two adolescent teens with disabilities in her care. The tape also shows her "sleeping on the job," and in one case, having sex with a male friend in the children's living area. From the article:

Concerns about the home care worker surfaced in late October after the parents took the brothers to an emergency room because of their alarming weight loss.

The children receive 24-hour nursing care due to their myotubular myopathy, a condition that severely diminishes their ability to move, eat and breathe on their own. After a doctor suggested that the family's overnight nursing aide might not be conducting their tube feedings, the family reviewed videotape from their home.

While the aide was recording regular feedings in medical records, a week's worth of tape showed that she wasn't conducting all of the scheduled feedings and was turning off the boys' feeding pumps for short periods.

The tape also showed the worker sleeping on the job and leaving for prolonged smoking breaks, and in one case she "had sexual intercourse with a male friend in the children's living quarters," according to the May 21 state report, which was released Tuesday.

The worker, who has been fired, was employed by Divine HealthCare Network, which serves eight counties and has been operating for eight years. According to the report, no penalties have been issued by the state against the agency, and there have been other substantiated cases of abuse or neglect against the agency since 2005.

A nurse from the agency said she had noticed that the aide was writing the exact same medical reports every night and was leaving out key information. The nurse also told investigators she had noticed from daily reports that the children had been losing weight.

See also this report in the Star Tribune.