We recently were informed that lax regulations and failure to properly screen Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) in North Texas nursing homes is resulting in past criminals getting jobs caring for our senior citizens. A story run by a local media outlet shows elderly residents of Texas nursing homes being exposed to abuse, neglect, and much worse by their supposed caretakers. Just a little bit of research uncovered that many CNAs in Texas are past criminals who have committed violent crimes, plead guilty to the offense, but were then allowed to seek gainful employment as a CNA upon release from prison. You are likely wondering how this is even possible. It starts with the incredibly lax regulations put in place by Texas lawmakers.
Texas law allows those convicted of serious crimes to work as a nurse aide in assisted living facilities because of deferred adjudication. According to Dallas area news outlet WFAA, the patient abuse rate in Texas nursing homes is a shocking four times the national average. This is a serious problem that should not be taken lightly. Not only are nursing home residents subject to abuse and neglect, but they are being abused by their supposed-trusted aides. Investigators found that many cases of elderly abuse reported by North Texas nursing homes involved violent criminals that were/are working as CNAs. And the worst part? It’s legal.
Failing to Protect the Elderly
Thanks to loopholes in Texas regulations, nurse aides with violent criminal histories are able to apply for jobs in nursing homes without any legal ramifications. This means that individuals who plead guilty and served jail time for a serious crime can then become certified as a nurse aide upon their release from jail. According to WFAA, there are more than 200 nurse aides in North Texas alone with violent criminal histories. Some of these individuals have been convicted of sexual assault of a child, injury to the elderly, continuous violence against family members, abandoning a child, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. To date, all of the CNAs discovered by WFAA are still certified and eligible to work as a nurse aide in the state of Texas.
This is a serious problem for numerous reasons, but namely that these individuals are able to work legally in nursing homes. This is not an oversight on the part of the nursing home; it is a problem with Texas law. With nursing home abuse on the rise, it is imperative we step up and encourage lawmakers to do something about these loopholes in order to protect our elderly nursing home residents.
In the next blog we will discuss some of the most striking problems with the laws that allow convicted criminals to serve as CNAs in Texas. The attorneys at Wormington & Bollinger are looking into this developing case and encourage anyone who suspects their loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse to contact us. We understand how sensitive these types of cases can be and will do everything in our power to ensure justice is served and your loved one is protected.