Elder abuse takes a wide range of different forms, including, but not limited to, issues like physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, confinement, passive neglect, willful deprivation and more. According to a recent study conducted by the National Council on Aging, it’s also a problem that is likely a lot more severe than most people even realize.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that approximately one out of every 10 people over the age of 60 has experienced some form of elder abuse – including those outlined above – at some point in their lives. When you consider how large this demographic actually is, that number alone could total as many as 5 million people. The reality of the situation, however, is likely far worse – the same study reveals that only about one out of every 14 cases of elder abuse is actually reported to the proper authorities. In nearly 60% of these incidents, the perpetrator is also a family member. Some 66% of the people who fall into that category are also adult children or spouses.
But as you can see from that study, elder abuse by a family member or other “loved one” is not always the case. A significant portion of the time involves a perpetrator from outside the home – particularly if the victim in question has been admitted to some type of elder care facility. Such is the case with one Raleigh nursing home, whose personnel recently abused a 68-year-old resident. Luckily, the resident’s family had his best interests in mind and turned to the power of modern technology to get to the bottom of the situation once and for all.
Raleigh Nursing Home Abuse: What You Need to Know
Rebecca Knapton told local CBS affiliate 17 News that her father, Richard Johnson, suffered a stroke in February of 2018. He was left paralyzed on one side of his body after the event, which meant that he needed around-the-clock care that she was in no position to properly give. In March, he was admitted to Universal Healthcare of North Raleigh – which is when this most disappointing and frightening of situations first began.
Rebecca Knapton quickly began to suspect that nurses were abusing her father, particularly due to sudden changes in his mood and other indicators. Richard Johnson had also made comments that suggested this himself. After discussing things with facility officials but coming to no satisfying conclusion, she quickly decided to take matters into her own hands. She put a hidden camera in her father’s room, which soon confirmed the worst. Her instincts were absolutely right. Her father had become an abuse victim.
In one instance, Johnson fell out of bed at around 4:22 a.m. He called for help repeatedly, and a nurse finally arrived at 5:21 a.m. Instead of helping Johnson back into bed, they simply questioned him and mocked him for the next 10 minutes. Then, several additional employees come into the room, and the pattern continued.
Knapton, with her video evidence in tow, quickly filed a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services. Based on the videos that she recorded, the state quickly determined that there was enough evidence to substantiate claims not only that Johnson was being abused, but that other patients were being abused and neglected as well. The facility issued a statement to 17 News saying that they were taking the situation very seriously, but for a lot of people – including the victim and his daughter – this was a classic case of “too little, too late.”
Knapton has indicated that she absolutely plans to take legal action not only against the facility, but the specific employees who were involved. After the incident took place, she quickly moved her father to a nearby facility – WakeMed – where, as of June 2018, he is recovering from a respiratory infection. Knapton has said that she wants to bring him home when he is fully healed. All things considered, that’s probably the best possible outcome given the circumstances.