Retirement Home Shut Down Months After Attack On 86-year-old• CNN
By Elizabeth Cohen
A newly uncovered video of a resident at an assisted living facility in Florida mercilessly beating another resident raises new questions about the safety of the elderly in places meant to protect and care for them.
In the video, obtained last week, a 52-year-old resident is seen punching an 86-year-old resident with dementia more than 50 times as the older man lay curled up on the floor.
The younger resident accused the older resident of eating his cupcake, according to law enforcement.
The video was taken by the facility’s closed circuit surveillance system in October and later turned over to the police, who shared it with CNN.
The facility — the Good Samaritan Retirement Home in Williston — had a history of violations, and more sanctions in the past five years than any other assisted living facility in Florida. In December, two administrators were arrested in connection with separate incidents on charges of neglect of the elderly.
The beating, which was first reported by the Gainesville Sun, lasted on and off for nearly 2 minutes. It occurred in a common area of a secured unit within the facility while other residents ate and watched television mere feet away.
At the time the beating took place, there was no staff member attending to residents in the unit, and no one had been assigned to monitor the unit’s video surveillance, according to official reports.
By the time staff arrived, the beating was over. The elderly resident was hospitalized with bruising and swelling to his face, as well as hip pain, according to the police report.
A month after the beating, another resident hit her head at the facility and was not immediately taken to the hospital. She later died.
One of the facility’s administrators, Nenita Alfonso Sudeall, later broke down and cried as she told police she was “overwhelmed” at the facility, which she said was short-staffed and had poorly trained employees, according to a police report.
A number of other recent reports and incidents have called into question the safety of residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country.
Sometimes, as in the case in Florida, the threats come from fellow residents. Other times, it’s from staff.
According to a 2016 study of 10 New York nursing homes, in a given month, one out of five residents suffers mistreatment at the hands of another resident. In September, residents of a Florida nursing home died after Hurricane Irma knocked out the facility’s air conditioning. According to the Hollywood Police Department, Broward County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Craig Mallak classified 12 deaths as homicides from heat exposure, as staff at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills failed to evacuate residents amid sweltering temperatures in the days following the storm.
Also earlier this year, a CNN report found that the federal government has cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for mishandling or failing to prevent alleged cases of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse at their facilities between 2013 and 2016.
“There are far too many cases of abuse and neglect happening in nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” said Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care, a national advocacy organization for residents and their families. “We’ve been seeing cases for decades. This one incident in Florida shows how bad the problem can be.”