LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Jeff Awtrey - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A nurse assistant at a Lufkin nursing home has been arrested and charged with assaulting an 83-year-old female patient.
Lufkin Police began the investigation on Aug. 21 when two employees of Grace Care Nursing Home, located at 504 North John Redditt Drive, say they heard a slapping noise coming from a room.
The employees observed the patient crying with a bump on her head, the report stated.
Sherree Denise James, 43, of Dallas, was bathing the patient, according to the report.
Lufkin Police served a warrant for James' arrest outside the nursing home on Wednesday.
She is charged with injury to elderly, a second-degree felony.
According to the arrest affidavit, the two witnesses heard the alleged victim tell James to quit hitting her. They heard her hitting her five times, the affidavit states. When they went into the room, they said they saw James twisting the woman's ear and pulling her hair, according to the affidavit.
The witnesses said James told them, "the way you control this resident is to bend her thumb back to her wrist if she gets out of control." The two witnesses got the victim away from James and reported the abuse to the administrator.
Nursing home administrator Pam Humphrey released a statement on the incident.
"The Lufkin Police Department, and the Department of Aging and Disability Services were notified and opened up an investigation," she stated. "Both Departments concluded that facility management took all appropriate actions and had no further recommendations."
Humphrey went on to state that James has since been fired, and that she worked there for about a year with "no other incidents". Humphrey said the victim returned to the facility that same day and is back in her normal routines.
Licensed counselor Sharon Mcclure says she's sickened to hear these allegations.
"There's no need whatsoever to control a patient. There's always a better way to do that," said Mcclure, who has spent time providing counseling in nursing homes across East Texas.
She says patient's quality of life depends on their care-givers.
"The CNAs, they're the ones that have day to day contact with them. It makes all the difference in the world," she explained.
Elderly abuse often goes undetected, Mcclure says, which leaves victims in a helpless situation.
So, for concerned children and loved ones, she says knowing who is caring for your family is key.
"It takes a person that's extraordinarily compassionate and definitely somebody with lots and lots of patience," said Mcclure.
Humphrey says all employees go through a hiring process of criminal history checks, misconduct register checks and drug screenings. She says, "in-services are provided at least quarterly if not more frequently concerning resident abuse and/or neglect."