Two teenage girls, who worked at a Minnesota nursing home, are being charged with physically, emotionally and sexually abusing elderly Alzheimer’s patients at the facility, according to this shocking MSNBC News report. Brianna Broitzman, 19, and Ashton Larson, 18, allegedly spat in residents’ mouths, poked and grabbed them and at times mocked them until they screamed. Both teenagers worked as part-time nursing aides at the Good Samaritan Society nursing home.
Five other teens, who worked with these two young women, were charged as juveniles for failing to report these incidents. Both Broitzman and Larson have been charged with assault, abuse of a vulnerable adult by a caregiver, abuse of a vulnerable adult with sexual contact, disorderly conduct and failing to report suspected maltreatment – all gross misdemeanors. According to the Minnesota Department of Health’s report, 15 residents with Alzheimer’s or other dementia related disorders were abused at Good Samaritan Society between January 1, 2008 and May 1, 2008.
This is not only appalling, but also very sad and unfortunate. These young women completely lacked any type of compassion or regard for these elderly residents, who were vulnerable and helpless. I’m shocked by the nursing home’s complete lack of supervision of its younger staff members. Where were the senior nurses and these aides’ supervisors when this nursing home abuse was going on? I’d bet the nursing home hired a bunch of girls part-time as nursing home aides as “cheap labor.” Were they even qualified to provide quality care for these patients?
This shocking story out of Minnesota is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to nursing home abuse and negligence. In the case of these young women, the nursing home did not monitor their activities carefully enough as they should have. But there are more serious problems. A U.S. Government Accountability Office report in 2006 found that at least 700 registered sex offenders live in nursing homes and care facilities across the country. The law, unfortunately, is not clear in many states in requiring that nursing homes inform residents and their families about these sex offenders.
These are all unacceptable practices. Nursing home residents and their families have legal rights. They have the right to quality care and to know that the employees and staff who take care of them are not criminals. This Minnesota nursing home should be held accountable for what happened to its group of vulnerable, elderly residents. It makes me furious that these atrocities were allowed to take place in a facility meant to provide solace and comfort to its residents.