The administrator of Kern Valley Hospital was charged eight counts of felony elder abuse this week after permitting caregivers to forcibly administer psychotropic drugs to residents out of convenience and not medical necessity. One resident died because of the practice.
Since 2006 the director of nursing at Lake Isabella nursing home has allegedly ordered caregivers to administer high doses of psychotropic medications to Alzheimer’s and dementia patients to control their behavior and make them easier to care for. This use of medications as a “chemical restraint” is illegal, and will likely expose the nursing home to civil lawsuits in addition to the criminal charges that have been filed.
According to news reports, three residents may have died as a result of the practice. The residents who died were Mae Brinkley, 91, Joseph Shepter, 76, and Alexander Zaiko, 85.
Last February three other employees were arrested and charged in the case, all of whom worked for the Kern Valley Healthcare District nursing home in Lake Isabella.
The elder abuse lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP provide free consultations to individuals and families who believe a loved one has been abuse or neglected in a Southern California nursing home or assisted living facility.