Cape nursing home worker no longer employed after abuse allegation

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A worker at a Cape Girardeau assisted-living facility is no longer employed there following an allegation of assault from a 92-year-old female resident. Police said Monday they continue to investigate the charges and have alerted state authorities as is mandated by law.

The Cape Girardeau Police Department received a report Wednesday about the possibility of elder abuse at the Lutheran Home in Cape Girardeau when visiting family members said they noticed their relative had bruising on her cheek, said department spokesman Darin Hickey. The nursing home resident told police she had been assaulted by a Lutheran Home staff member, Hickey said.

On Monday, the Lutheran Home responded to questions from the Southeast Missourian with a prepared statement from administrator Gerry Russell about the alleged incident between a resident and an employee.

"As part of our commitment to safeguard our residents the employee was not allowed to return to work and is no longer employed by the Lutheran Home," the statement said. "We sincerely regret any inconvenience or concern this has caused the resident and the family."

The Lutheran Home, citing Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, privacy rules, declined to provide additional information about the situation, according to the statement. The Lutheran Home, situated on 42 acres at 2825 Bloomfield Road, houses about 275 residents. The not-for-profit, Christian-based facility first opened in 1972.

The police department is currently investigating the incident, Hickey said. A detective is interviewing possible witnesses, going over the account with the alleged victim and working with the administrators at the Lutheran Home, he said.

"We are taking this very seriously," Hickey said. "Elder abuse is something that is a very serious accusation and a very serious crime if that's found to be the case. We're going to do as much as we can to investigate it thoroughly."

Hickey said the department also reported the allegations to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services elder-abuse hotline, as is required by state law. The state agency did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday, but its website says it investigates abuse, neglect and exploitation of "vulnerable individuals" 60 and older and people with disabilities between ages 18 and 59. The state defines abuse as the infliction of physical, sexual or emotional injury or harm, including financial exploitation, by any person, firm or corporation.

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

2825 Bloomfield Road, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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