Police: Workers assaulted Alzheimer's patient

Irene Rodriguez and Regina Battles
December 11, 2012 4:07:12 PM PST
Two workers have been charged for allegedly assaulting an Alzheimer's patient in their care at a Bucks County nursing home.

Irene Rodriguez, 22, and Regina Battles, 20, face a number of charges including reckless endangerment, simple assault and neglect for the incidents at the Arbors At Buck Run in Feasterville, Pa.

Investigators say the incidents were caught on hidden camera which was placed by the victim's family, who took that step after they noticed bruising on her.

Police say the hidden video shows repeated incidents in which Rodriguez and Battles allegedly picked up the victim from her wheelchair, dump her on her bed and then roughly tossing her legs onto the mattress.

Lower Southampton Police Detective Eric Landamia says the only thing worse that the alleged abuse itself is the victim's reaction.

"The video does show her crying at times. There are several videos and each one is more disturbing than the next," Landamia said.

It also turns out both Rodriguez and Battles were hired by the Arbors before either completed state-approved training and testing for providers of unsupervised assisted living services.

For much of 2012, the Arbors had only a provisional license from the Department of Public Welfare. The DPW's annual inspection turned up a number of violations, including: failure to tell a resident's family the resident had been hospitalized; failure to alert county health authorities of an infectious gastrointestinal outbreak; leaving patients in 'direct care' (dementia) units alone, although state regulations require staff to be present at all times.

The report documention those and other violations in care, record-keeping, and staff training runs 35 pages.

DPW documents show The Arbors was given a provisional license in February 2012 and another in April 2012 when the initial violations weren't completely fixed. It was given a full license in May.

Action News received a statement from The Arbors reading, in part, "The alleged incidents are not consistent with, nor reflective of, the daily operations of our community, nor our mission of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of our residents that our families trust and believe in."

Meanwhile, the suspects' attorney, Alan Zibelman, says he understands why the victim's family would be upset by those videos but said:

"I also believe that if an objective person looked at it, it could be perceived in a different way," Zibelman said.

The Arbors at Bucks Run has had its license revoked by the state as this investigation continues. However, officials at the Arbors said they will appeal that decision and will remain open during the appeals process.


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