KSAT reported that police arrested Marcelina Felipa Ruiz. She was a certified nursing assistant at the Oak Park Nursing and Rehab Center. Investigators said Ruiz struck a resident under her care while working as a caregiver. The employee is accused of slapping the 84-year old woman suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. Injuries included facial swelling and bruises.
A witness told police that he heard screaming coming from the patient’s room. He saw Ruiz and the patient alone inside the room. The patient was sitting while Ruiz attempted to change her shirt. The resident reacted by grabbing Ruiz’s forearm. Ruiz noticed a scratch and then violently slapped the patient across the face.
Investigators said the force caused bruising and swelling to the patient’s left cheek. One officer noted the “swelling and redness was more pronounced when he arrived to the location.”
Ruiz was charged with injury to the elderly by facility caregiver, a second-degree felony.
This is a perfect example of why nursing homes must provide competent and caring caregivers. The best way to do that is to provide training. As a person’s dementia progresses, they may sometimes behave in ways that are physically or verbally aggressive. Dementia training will help teach caregivers how to redirect or defuse tense situations. Some people assume that aggressive behavior is a symptom of dementia itself but it’s more likely that there is another cause. Neglect and abuse often lead to “behavior” issues with residents.