February 22nd, 2017
10:54 AM ET

Sick, dying and raped in America’s nursing homes – a CNN Investigation

They go to nursing homes to be cared for. Instead, the unthinkable is happening at facilities across the country: Vulnerable seniors are being raped and sexually abused by the very people paid to care for them.

Senior Writers Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken provide a shocking and detailed account of the rape and sexual abuse occurring in nursing homes across the country — and the systemic failures of nursing homes and state regulators to stop it.

The graphic reports of abuse they uncovered are horrifying.  

  • 83-year-old Sonja Fischer fled war-time Indonesia as a young girl only to be raped by a nursing assistant during the “final, most vulnerable days of her life.”
  • An 88-year-old California woman only had sex with one man her entire life – her husband of nearly 70 years —  then contracted a sexually transmitted disease from her alleged rapist.
  • One elderly man with paralysis was sexually abused and forced to eat feces out of his adult diapers by a group of nursing aides.

As part of the five-month investigation, CNN Correspondent Ana Cabrera confronted multiple nursing homes where caregivers were accused of sexually assaulting multiple residents before eventually being convicted of rape.

Ellis and Hicken also read through thousands of government documents to conduct a detailed analysis of federal data – the first of its kind.

Some of the findings: CNN found that more than 1,000 nursing homes have been cited for mishandling or failing to investigate or prevent alleged cases of rape, sexual assault and abuse at their facilities between 2013 and 2016. Nearly 100 of these facilities have been cited multiple times during the same period. At least a quarter were allegedly perpetrated by aides, nurses and other staff members. 

The reporters also traveled to the small town of Waynesville, North Carolina, to tell the story of one certified nursing assistant who worked at multiple facilities in the area and now stands accused of rape. This deeply reported account comes from police reports, court documents, interviews with the alleged victims and even the accused rapist, who denied  the charges from jail.

Read the full investigation here.

Courtsey of CNN.


Families turn to nursing homes to give the elderly the care and attention they need, but a congressional report out Monday says 1,600 U.S. nursing homes — nearly one-third — have been cited for abuse, reports CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker. Some 5,283 nursing homes were cited for abuse violations, according to a review of state inspection records requested by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. These homes were cited for nearly 9,000 abuse violations from January 1999 to January 2001.

“We found examples of residents being punched, choked or kicked by staff members or other residents,” Waxman said.

It’s a shocking reality for thousands of older Americans, a trend CBS News first reported last year with the story of Helen Love. She was attacked by a certified nurse’s assistant at a Sacramento facility, who was angered she’d soiled herself.

“He choked me and went and broke my neck and broke my wrist,” said Love.
Helen Love died two days after her interview. Her assailant got a year in county jail and a CBS News investigation found that three other employees at the same Sacramento facility had been convicted for abuse, which should have barred them from nursing home work.

The nursing home industry agrees on the need for stiffer background checks, but disagrees abuse is widespread.

“The congressman himself said the great majority of long-term care in our nation is excellent. There are people every day that are working very hard to provide that care,” said Charles H. Roadman II, president of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), a nursing home trade group that represents 12,000 nonprofit and for-profit centers and homes for the elderly and disabled.

Waxman, the top Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees spending and other operations, said Congress should RAid an abolished federal law that boosts nursing home spending. The Boren amendment would guarantee that the nation’s nearly 17,000 homes do a better job of screening, training and counseling their staff. Roughly 1.5 million seniors live in nursing homes.
Waxman is also introducing a plan that would require criminal background checks on nursing home staff and impose tougher standards on homes with violations.

The AHCA supports a federal criminal background check system for potential employees.

“Recruiting, training and keeping frontline nursing staff are among the most important things we can do to ensure our patients continue to receive quality skilled nursing care,” said Roadman.

But center operators said abuse is not the norm in nursing homes and many staff members deserve praise.

“Our patients are like family, and incidents like those described here today are extremely rare,” said Sharon Sellers, vice president of operations at Washington Home, a nearly 200-bed center in the District of Columbia.

Bruce Rosenthal, spokesman for the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, said Congress should focus on the troubled centers, rather than create cumbersome standards for all.

“We strongly believe nursing homes that exhibit consistently poor performance should either clean up their act or be put out of business,” said Rosenthal, whose group represents 5,600 not-for-profit homes and centers.

A congressional report has found that 5,283 — over 30 percent — of the nursing homes in the U.S. were cited for an abuse violation that had to cause harm between January 1999 and January 2001. Over 2,500 of the violations were serious enough to cause actual harm or to place residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury.

The reported abuses were physical, sexual and verbal. All abuse is on the rise, the report said. More than twice as many nursing homes were cited for abuse in 2000 than in 1996. In 1996, 5.9 percent of all nursing homes were cited for an abuse violation during their annual inspections; in 2000, 16 percent of nursing homes were cited.
“It would have been intolerable if we had found a hundred cases of abuse; it is unconscionable that we have foud thousands upon thousands,” Waxman said.
The report found that in 1,601 nursing homes – about 1 in 10 – abuse citations were made in serious incidents that either put residents at great risk of harm, injured them or killed them.

For instance, a resident was killed when another resident with a history of abusive behavior picked her up and slammed her into a wall. In another case, a resident’s nose was broken by an attendant who hit her. An attendant raped another resident in her room.

It was not clear how many people were abused. In some cases, the report said, an abuse citation referred to a single victim; in others a single case affected several residents.

Investigators said many violations are neither detected nor reported, leading officials to believe the problem is underestimated.

The report also found more than 40 percent, or 3,800 abuse violations, were only reported after formal complaints from residents, their families or community advocates.
1,327 homes were cited for more than one abuse violation in the two-year period; 305 homes were cited for three or more abuse violations, and 192 nursing homes were cited for five or more abuse violations.

©MMI CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report

© 2001 CBS. All rights reserved.


The neglected ones

Prominent landscape painter David Reid has just entered
the Twilight Zone.

After his mother is sent to a nursing home for rehabilitation, David soon learns the truth about Haven. Once a magnificent seaside hotel on the coast of Maine, the property is now managed by a greedy corporation and a nursing staff who neglect and abuse the residents. Dealing with the inept staff is an endless battle. And to make matters worse, David’s mother claims ghosts are haunting the facility.

Are the spirits hallucinations caused by her medications?

Or is Haven really haunted?


CLICK here to read the FIRST CHAPTER of

Real Ghost Encounters at Bakersfield’s Haunted Places

Moving objects, shadows, spirit possession, and unexplained screams may seem the screenplay of any horror movie. But these creepy things have actually happened at several places in Bakersfield. From school to the hospital, there are many buildings in the city which are believed to be haunted. According to the locals, these are housed by the spirits of those who were either killed or committed suicide there. Here, we’ve compiled ghostly places in Bakersfield with real stories raising your goose bumps.

Central Park Canal, Mill Creek:

Bakersfield’s Central Park at Mill Creek is one of the haunted sites in Bakersfield.

“I saw a woman in the white robe just before dawn. She was weeping and then quickly disappeared when I approached her,” said Mr. Philip, a local shop owner in his sixties. Like Mr. Philip, you come across many residents who have a similar story to tell. Locals say that the lady in a white robe was murdered near the park and her body was hidden beneath the floorboards at the foundry. Her remains were discovered by the workers after few days when they dug into the floor. What was her name, why she was killed or who was her murderer is still a mystery till date. “Her spirit was wandering,” sighed Philip.

Haberfelde Building:

Haberelde Building is 5 stories low rise building at Chester Avenue and attracts attention with its beautiful art deco architectural style. But the building is plagued by paranormal activities as stated by the locals. Many people have claimed that they have heard woman’s scream coming out from the building. While those living inside the building have sighted unexplained switching off lights and experienced presence of somebody when they are alone. Many of them have spotted an old man strolling in storage areas and the basement.

However, Mr. John Sarad, the building’s owner flatly declines all these claims.

Bakersfield High School:

Bakersfield High School dates back to 1890s and is counted among most reputed schools in Bakersfield. Besides being a big stars’ alma mater, the school is known as one of the haunted locations in Bakersfield. From spotting a disappearing man to slamming of theater’s door on its own, there are many spookier tales built around the school. Many people including teachers and students have confirmed the strange and weird sounds and sightings over the years.

A staff member’s experience goes like that–“That foggy night I was driving back to the campus for some reasons. Most of the staff was either back to home or had rest at their apartments. Yeah, you can say I was lonely over there. I spotted a girl in a prom dress and a boy wearing a football letter sweater at the top row of bleachers. I rushed there but nobody was to be seen. I was so scared and ran back.” The school auditorium, Harvey Auditorium is said to be haunted by the ghost of a workman who was killed during the construction.

The former receptionist at BHS said that she used to hear file cabinet opening and closing when no one was in the room. It is said that the school has built on the location of Kern General Hospital, which buried its dead bodies at where the school’s Quad is today.

The Padre Hotel:

The Padre Hotel has its own share of the city’s spookier tales. Built in 1928, the hotel is said to be haunted by the giggling young girl; people who jumped off its roof and victim who were killed in fire outbreak on the 7th floor.

Jessica Neeley, a hotel sales manager, says,” Several of the housekeepers have said when they are up here vacuuming the floors or working, they’ll feel a presence and they’ll look and they’ve seen a little girl in 1920’s or 30’s clothing with a hat and gloves resting on the banister and watching them.,”

“When I tried to catch her and she ran and turned into a fog like appearance”, said one of the hotel employees. The girl leaves her handprint on a wooden panel which pops up every time in spite of painting and sanding.

So, these are the haunted places in Bakersfield with some real spookier experiences. But there may be many more haunted places in the city which are still unknown including the one where you’re right now, sitting back and reading this article.

Courtesy of


Nursing Home Staffing

Understaffing Is Number One Cause of Harm

Staffing issues are the most prevalent cause of many injuries sustained by residents of nursing homes, such as the dehydration, bedsores, fractures and weight loss. This simply means there are not enough qualified personnel in a nursing home to properly care for all the residents.

Labor costs are the most significant component of a nursing home’s overhead (cost of doing business), and those looking to increase profits generally attempt to cut the cost of labor as much as possible. One of the discoveries I made in my first nursing home lawsuit was that the corporation had set aside over $30 million dollars to pay for lawsuits and settlements. The money they saved on labor costs exceeded the amount they needed to pay injured residents who were the victims of their greed.

Nursing Home Staffing by the Numbers

The primary caregiver of residents at nursing homes, meaning the one who performs most of if not all the tasks needed to take proper care of the resident, is a certified nursing assistant (“CNA”). To understand how understaffing occurs, consider that a CNA typically works a 7.5-hour shift, but with two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute meal, the CNA only has 6.5 hours of actual time to care for the residents. This allows for 390 minutes for resident care in each shift. Now consider the minutes required for a CNA to complete the responsibilities and tasks that he or she may have on a single shift when responsible for 9 residents (unfortunately, CNAs are often responsible for 12-15 residents on a shift):

  • 4 showers to give (60 min.)
  • 5 baths (75 min.)
  • 5 incontinent residents to clean/change (25 min.)
  • One catheter to empty (5 min.)
  • Document on the resident care charts throughout shift (25 min.)
  • Change 9-bed sheets and make up beds (40 min.)
  • Turn/reposition 4 bed-ridden residents every 2 hours (60 min.)
  • Set up 6 meals (25 min.)
  • Toilet 4 to 6 residents, 2 times a shift (60 min.)
  • Shave/groom/hygiene all residents (135 min.)

Therefore, a CNA with only 9 residents would need approximately 510 minutes to complete these tasks to adequately care for the residents. Yet, the CNA only works for a total of 390 minutes. Thus, the CNA would need 120 more minutes, or two additional hours of non-stop work, to perform the resident care responsibilities. And this is assuming the CNA works diligently during the 390 minutes. However, many CNAs work a double shift at the facility, or have another job at another nursing home, or hold down multiple jobs due to low wages, resulting in many days of 16-hour workdays, and often working six or seven days per week. This kind of taxing work means their 390 minutes at the nursing home are likely to be less than fully productive.

Overly busy CNAs cut back on providing care, and residents suffer.

When short on time, a CNA comes up with ways to shave off minutes that should go to these basic health care tasks. Some shave some time off feedings. Residents who do not eat quickly will miss some calories.  Over a period of time, the calories add up; an elderly resident slowly begins to feel the effects: losing weight, becoming malnourished, and/or developing pressure sores.  Already with compromised immune systems, residents need of all of their calories to fight off infections and to heal. Shaving time off providing care, therefore, shaves time off of their lives.

Other CNAs may feel forced to cut back on direct care.  Instead of checking, changing, turning, and repositioning residents, they may skip a turn or two. Adult diapers may stay soiled for several hours instead of several minutes. These shortcuts can lead to the deterioration of the skin and the development of rashes (fungal and bacterial infections) and bedsores. Fungal and bacterial infections can get into the bloodstream and cause serious illness, even death. Bedsores and pressure ulcers are painful and just as dangerous.

Another, unfortunately, result of under-staffing or hurried staff is broken bones.  For many residents totally dependent on their caregivers, it takes two CNAs to move a resident from bed to chair and from chair to bed. But there is hardly enough time for one CNA to get residents up and out of bed, much less two. The result is that a single CNA tries to do the task of two, and residents fall or are dropped, resulting in fractured bones.  Simply put: much of the care needed to ensure the residents are safe and healthy is neglected because the CNA cannot perform the work by her- or himself.

How many CNAs should work at a nursing home?

An accurate calculation of a facility’s staffing needs can be complex. It requires an assessment of the specific needs of that facility’s residents (for example, the more residents who are incontinent and suffer from dementia, the greater number of staff needed to provide adequate care). But there are a few good rules of thumbs: there should be a minimum of 1 nurse per shift per 20 residents, and the “average” resident needs at least 3 hours of CNA care per day.

To calculate hours of CNA care per day, take the number of CNAs that work on that day, multiply by 7 (hours) and divide by the number of residents. This is the hours-per-patient-per-day of care available. It should be at least equal to 3 hours.

Nursing Home Staffing: Legal Requirements

Federal Law for Nursing Home Staffing

Because nursing homes receive Medicare payments, federal regulations apply to the care these long-term care facilities (LTC) deliver. Consider the actual federal regulations for staffing:

The facility must have sufficient nursing staff to provide nursing and related services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident, as determined by resident assessments and individual plans of care.

(a) Sufficient staff.

(1) The facility must provide services by sufficient numbers of each of the following types of personnel on a 24-hour basis to provide nursing care to all residents in accordance with resident care plans:

(i) Except when waived under paragraph (c) of this section, licensed nurses; and

(ii) Other nursing personnel.

(2) Except when waived under paragraph (c) of this section, the facility must designate a licensed nurse to serve as a charge nurse on each tour of duty.

(b) Registered nurse.

(1) Except when waived under paragraph (c) or (d) of this section, the facility must use the services of a registered nurse for at least 8 consecutive hours a day, 7 days a week.

(2) Except when waived under paragraph (c) or (d) of this section, the facility must designate a registered nurse to serve as the director of nursing on a full-time basis.

(3) The director of nursing may serve as a charge nurse only when the facility has an average daily occupancy of 60 or fewer residents.

South Carolina Law for Nursing Home Staff

South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) regulates nursing homes in South Carolina. So, in addition to the federal Medicare regulations, long-term care facilities must adhere to this second set of requirements. These staffing requirements are a minimum.

  1. A. Licensed Nursing Staff. An adequate number of licensed nurses shall be on duty to meet the total nursing needs of residents. Licensed nursing staff shall be assigned to duties consistent with their scope of practice as determined by their licensure and educational preparation.
  2. The facility shall designate a registered nurse as a full-time Director of Nursing. Another registered nurse, who is employed by the licensee, shall be designated in writing to act in his or her absence. In facilities with a licensed bed capacity of twenty-two (22) or fewer beds, the Director of Nursing may be included in the requirements of Section 605.A.2.
  3. There shall be at least one (1) licensed nurse per shift for each staff work area. If there are more than forty-four (44) residents per staff work area, there shall be two (2) licensed nurses on first shift and at least one (1) licensed nurse on second and third shift.
  4. At least one (1) registered nurse shall be on duty in the facility, or on call, whenever residents are present in the facility.
  5. An Administrator who is a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse shall not be included in meeting the staffing requirements of this section.
  6. Nonlicensed Nursing Staff. The required number of nurse aides and other nonlicensed nursing staff shall be determined by the number of residents assigned to beds at the facility. Additional staff members shall be provided if the minimum staff requirements are inadequate to provide appropriate care and services to the residents of a facility.
  7. Nonlicensed nursing staff shall be provided to meet at least the following resident-to-staff ratio schedule:
  8. Nine to one (9 to 1) for shift one (1);
  9. Thirteen to one (13 to 1) for shift two (2);
  10. Twenty-two to one (22 to 1) for shift three (3).

Find Out Staffing Information about a Specific Nursing Home

Nursing homes are required to report staffing information to their states. The states report it to Medicare, and Medicare publishes it. This information is available at Use the information about a nursing home’s residents (such as the number of residents with incontinence) to see if the resident mix is one that will stretch the demands of the staff compared with other nursing homes under consideration.  Moreover, nursing homes are required to post their staffing information.  Ask the Director of Nursing where it is posted in your nursing home or ones you’re considering.

Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers

Too often, staffing decisions are driven by profits and not by the quality of care.  Nursing homes budget for the harm these decisions cause; the calculation is that paying residents for injuring, maiming or killing them is less expensive than paying for the staff needed to provide the care that would prevent the harm in the first place. This is where families and the lawyers who represent them can make a difference.  No one lawsuit will change the calculation, but one by one, making nursing homes pay for the harm they cause can change how nursing homes operate. I am Andy Arnold, and I help families be part of that process by making nursing homes pay for the harm they cause. Let me know if you need help or want to discuss your situation:  864.233.4351.

Article courtesy of Greenville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer