Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.

September 26, 2012

Abuse Cases Highlight Home Caregiver Perils

Families and advocates say oversight is lacking for independent agencies
Written by Kristina Davis
Sept. 24, 2012

A World War II veteran neglected and living in squalor in his East County home.
An elderly Rancho Bernardo man slain after being scammed out of a half-million dollars.
A blind couple suffering from dementia duped into signing over their Cardiff house.
In each case, in-home caregivers have been charged criminally for the abuse.

And now, two caregivers have been charged with punching, kicking and shoving a young autistic man hundreds of times at his family’s home in Valley Center.
Law enforcement and health care advocates in San Diego County say such cases underscore the lack of regulations for home caregivers who are tasked with watching over one of society’s most vulnerable populations.
“We have victims who can’t advocate for themselves,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Varnau of the department’s elder abuse unit. “These people are prisoners in their own homes. There is no way to summon aid, no ability to pick up the phone, sometimes they are medicated or overmedicated and confined to beds.”
Such was the case with 23-year-old Jamey Oakley, the severely autistic, nonverbal victim who had no way to communicate the alleged abuse he was suffering when left alone with two of his caregivers.
Michael Dale Garritson, 61, and Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 27, were charged with abuse Wednesday after secret video recordings made in July and August showed hundreds of incidents over a three-week period, authorities said.
Both pleaded not guilty in Vista Superior Court Friday.
The case illustrates many of the frustrations and potential dangers families face when opening their homes to caregivers.

While day-care centers and nursing homes are regulated by the state and are required to run background checks on employees, no law requires oversight of independent caregiver agencies.
Many agencies claim to run background checks, but often the reviews aren’t extensive, according to a 2011 report by the state Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes. In other cases, agencies still approved caregivers with criminal convictions, the report found.
Investigators and advocates who deal with the elderly and disabled say that’s why it’s so important for families to do their own homework on caregivers — and recommended going as far as hiring a private investigator.
“If your loved one will be alone with an individual, you really have to make sure they’re protected,” said Ellen Schmeding, assistant deputy director of the county’s Aging and Independence Services.
In the case of Garritson and McDuffie, both came up as having no criminal records when U-T San Diego ran their names using a basic background check service.
But a quick Google search of Garritson brought up news reports about how he was charged, then eventually acquitted, of second-degree murder in a baby’s 1979 death in Orange County, as well as how he was convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty decades later in San Diego County.

 SOURCE:      UTSanDiego


Click for Updates, More Cases and Resources
Search LABELS for More Resources

No comments:


Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

Search This Blog