A caregiver at the Cascades of Bremerton Retire Community is being investigated for elder abuse after a fellow employee reported her to police after allegedly witnessing the employee abusing elderly dementia patients and treating them “roughly.”
The Central Kitsap Reporter reports that the Bremerton City Police started the investigation after a female worker reported witnessing her co-worker covering the mouths and noses of some elderly patients to prevent them from speaking. She also said she witnessed the worker stepping on patients’ feet and poking them in the forehead or neck.
The worker is accused of abusing dementia patients between 91 and 94. She is now on paid leave while the allegations are investigated.
The executive director of the Willows Retirement Living Community said that so far the investigations are inconclusive.
Mandatory Reporter Law
The abuse claims have been referred to Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office as required by Washington State’s Mandatory Reporter Law for the Elderly and Disabled. The law requires law enforcement officers; social workers; employees of social service, welfare, mental health, adult day care, home health, home care or hospice agency; county coroner or medical examiner; people working in the healthcare field including physicians, psychologists, nurses, etc. to act as Mandatory Reporters make a report to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) if they believe that abuse, abandonment, financial exploitation or neglect of a vulnerable adult has occurred. In addition, they are required to also report to local law enforcement agencies if they suspect a sexual or violent assault.
One is not required to have absolute proof to report suspected abuse and reports can be made anonymously.