When Ralph Kasczmerak moved to a nursing home, he expected to recover from a stroke, not to suffer through abuse ranging from theft of his possessions to accusations leveled against him.
According to press reports the abuse happened at Liberty Nursing Center in Toledo, Ohio, where Kacszmerak was admitted two years ago. He claims the abuse began soon after he moved in. Staff was unhelpful and uncaring. However, that wasn’t the reason state inspectors who visited the facility this year declared that there was an immediate jeopardy situation there. (This is a situation in which residents have been put at serious risk of injury or death. Last year, state officials in Ohio conducted more than 700 inspections, and declared immediate jeopardy situations at just 35 of them.)
The declaration of an immediate jeopardy situation at Liberty was the result of a complaint Kacszmerak had made against the facility - that staff there stole his medications. Kacszmerak claimed that when he confronted the staff about the missing drugs, they were quick to accuse him of having sold the medications himself.
The tale of elder abuse at Liberty Nursing Center goes beyond this. Reportedly, the staff member who stole the medication was a person who had recently lost his nursing license. The inspection reports stated that the facility knew that the staff member was unlicensed, and went ahead and hired him anyway.
There were worse things happening at Liberty, according to inspectors. Residents at the facility who were mentally unstable had been abusing and beating other residents, and the administration seemed disinterested about it. Their reaction was that this sort of behavior was to be expected when there were residents who were not mentally sound at the facility. They admitted that there were incidents when some residents bit and hit other residents, and also confirmed that the facility had failed to report these to the state. Even more shocking was the attitude of the administration when questioned by the media about their decision to hire a staff member who had lost his nursing license. According to them, they were more interested in looking "to the future," and didn’t want to judge anybody "based on their past." Shouldn’t their primary concern have been the safety and care of residents at their facility?
The kind of abuse that Randy Kacszmerak reportedly suffered at the hands of the nursing home is appalling. When people check in at a facility, they don’t expect to have their possessions stolen, accusations made against them, with staff members who are not even licensed to take care of them. It seems that there are grounds here for further investigation to prove whether conditions at the facility were indeed abusive.