Florida Caregivers

Florida police say surveillance footage showed employees whipping an elderly resident. Rosa Edwards, 23, and Aneisha Hall, 19, were arrested on two counts each of battery on a person 65 or older, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said. Both employees work at Inspired Living at Ivy Ridge Assisted Living Facility.

Surveillance footage showed the two caregivers allegedly whipping an elderly male resident with a lanyard and laughing, which resulted in a further altercation. Investigators said the surveillance video caught Edwards and Hall starting an altercation with an elderly man who was pushing another resident, an elderly woman, in her wheelchair. That’s when deputies said Edwards was seen whipping the man with a lanyard while laughing.

“Edwards and Hall proceeded to grab the male resident and take him to the ground as he continued to hold on to the wheelchair, causing it to fall sideways with the female resident in it,” according to the police press release.

“Both Edwards and Hall then ran away from the area of the incident and out of view of the camera, leaving both elderly residents laying on the ground.

“According to deputies, Hall and Edwards reported the incident to their co-worker, however they stated that the male resident battered the female resident, and they were not involved.

“Deputies located Hall and Edwards and while Edwards was interviewed, she admitted to using excessive force when dealing with the incident and stated that they should have handled it differently.”

According to the Nursing Home Abuse Justice organization, nursing home abuse affects thousands of families every year. “In 2020 alone, over 15,000 complaints filed with nursing home ombudsmen were about abuse or neglect.”

Safe staffing is not just about the quantity but also the quality of the caregivers.

A group of leading nurse educators and policymakers are calling for more protections for nurses and staff who care for patients with psychiatric issues, including those in nursing facilities. In a five-pronged approach published in Health Affairs, the authors urged stakeholders to act quickly to help “prevent further injury and death to psychiatric nurses and staff.”

Workplace violence and harassment of healthcare staff is a major problem as skilled nursing facilities are forced to accept patients with behavioral health and substance abuse problems.  Protections are needed in skilled nursing facilities, said co-author Mona Shattell, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the University of Central Florida in Orlando and editor of the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services.

A 2021 qualitative study found that CNAs perceive violence as “part of the job” and may feel that such events are dismissed or aren’t worth reporting. The study also showed that nursing assistants lacked training to manage aggressive behavior.

“When nurses and nursing staff underreport acts of aggression, it sets the stage for that aggression to escalate,” they wrote. “Within a female-identified nursing culture, values such as caring and conflict avoidance can perpetuate an unhelpful silence about the nature and frequency of aggressive acts.” 

In addition, the authors support the enactment of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which has been introduced in each new Congress since 2019; data systems that better monitor worker exposure to violence; and the holding of educational institutions to account for teaching quality and safety standards that reduce workplace violence.