For most families, deciding to place a parent or other family member in a nursing home marks the start of a difficult transition. There is often an extended period of stress, guilt and concern as everyone in the family adjusts to the new living situation. These negative feelings can be eased by a sense of trust and security in the nursing home and its staff. But if a family member has suspicions of neglect, abuse or mistreatment from nursing home staff, it is impossible to feel secure in the choice to place a loved one in that facility.

Such suspicions led a New Jersey woman to conduct her own investigation of the Harborage nursing home in North Bergen, where her mother had lived for several years. After discovering bruises on her mother’s body, the woman began to suspect that the 87-year-old had been a victim of nursing home abuse. The woman reported the bruises to nursing home officials and state officials, neither of which investigated the possibility of abuse. After realizing that she would have to look into the injuries herself, the woman hid a video camera in her mother’s room at the Harborage nursing home in North Bergen.

About a month after the woman placed the ‘nanny cam’, her mother passed away. After the death, the woman reviewed the video tape, and was shocked at what she saw. The camera footage showed a nursing aide repeatedly striking the mother and removing her oxygen mask unnecessarily and without authorization.

The aide was fired from the facility, and was criminally charged with several crimes including assault, abandonment, and neglect of the elderly. She is not charged with contributing to the mother’s death. The woman has announced that she will file a nursing home abuse lawsuit against several parties, including the nursing home and the aide.

If a member of your family has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: The Jersey Journal, “North Bergen nursing home cites ‘commitment to safety’ in response to upcoming lawsuit based on ‘nanny-cam’ video”, Michaelangelo Conte, 22 March 2011