Experts Debate Use Of Cameras After Abuse Captured At OKC Nursing Home

Police arrested two nurse's aides accused of abusing an elderly woman at an Oklahoma City nursing home. Now, some are questioning if there are more victims and if cameras could protect them.

Friday, April 20th 2012, 7:55 pm

By: News 9


Police arrested two nurse's aides accused of abusing an elderly woman at an Oklahoma City nursing home. Now, some are questioning if there are more victims and if cameras could protect them.

The video in the case is too disturbing to be released to the public. But we can tell you in addition to shoving latex gloves in the victim's mouth. Police say the camera also caught the nurses aids pushing the elderly woman onto a bed and performing chest compressions without any medical reason.

"It's unfortunate that any abuse occurs even for one person in any of our facilities in the state. And for it to be caught on camera is heartbreaking," said Rebecca Moore, with the Oklahoma Association of Healthcare Providers.

Moore is following the case against Lucy Gakunga and Caroline Kaseke. A police report indicates the two nurses aids are accused of 'slapping', ‘gagging', and then 'pushing' a 96-year-old woman at the Quail Creek Nursing and Rehab center.  A 'hidden camera' recorded the abuse. 

4/17/2012 Related Story: Two Nursing Home Caretakers Arrested After Camera Captures Abuse

"If it had not been for a camera in the room it is highly likely that this person would have been assaulted again. And due to the severity of this assault, the next one could have been greater and taken her life," said Wes Bledsoe.

Bledsoe, an activist  for nursing home residents, is working with the family. Reports show the elderly victim who has dementia could not fully communicate her problems. But she did tell family members "someone was hurting her mouth" and often yelled out "help me". 

Bledsoe says the abuse later uncovered by a camera should call on every facility to put cameras in resident's rooms, though the idea is a source of debate in the industry.

"Ninety percent of the care that their loved one will receive is at that bedside," said Bledsoe.

Critics argue cameras invade the privacy of nursing home residents. And Moore explains that laws do not determine the use of cameras in a patient's room. So each facility, like Quail Creek Nursing Home, maintains its own policy.

In this case, it's unclear if the administration was notified of previous problems. But Moore explains laws will require the facility to report this case for the future.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would require nursing homes to include fingerprinting as part of the background checks to help catch out-of-state offenders.

Every state has an abuse registry so the nurse's aides in this case will be reported. They have not been formally charged.

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