Nursing Home Assistants Get Jail Time for Elder Abuse “Prank”

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Five nursing home workers who participated in a November 2009 prank involving elderly dementia patients in a Ukiah, Calif., nursing home have been sentenced.

Accused of enacting a prank where they coated 7 elderly dementia patients from head to foot in a slippery ointment so they would be slippery when the staff for the next shift arrived, all 5 had their nursing assistant licenses revoked and are ineligible to work in nursing homes again.

The 2 nursing home workers who actually rubbed the slippery ointment all over elderly nursing home residents so that the next shift would have a hard time handling the elderly residents will be serving jail time in California.

Monica Rose Smith and Jennifer Louise Burton have been sentenced to 20 days in county jail for orchestrating the 2009 prank involving 7 patients at Valley View Skilled Nursing facility in Ukiah, Calif. When released, they will be placed on 2 years of probation after being found guilty of misdemeanor elder abuse.

Jared Buckley, who was also found guilty of helping with the prank, has been ordered to serve 150 hours of community service and has been placed on 2 years of probation.

Jennie Bido and Christine Boyd-Guerrero were each found guilty of failure to report elder abuse and have been sentenced to 100 hours of community service. They will also be placed on two years probation.

Although none of the 7 elderly patients were injured in the prank, California Gov. Jerry Brown called the prank “shocking and cruel,” in a Huffington Post article.

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused by nursing home staff, or that cruel pranks like this one might be occurring where they live, some of the leading signs to look for are:

  • Changes in personality or behavior
  • Bruises, pressure marks and broken bones
  • Bedsores, and other unattended medical needs
  • Poor hygiene and unusual depression
  • Odd burns and abrasions
  • Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities