Group home safety is not just about making sure poisons are out of reach or that the disabled residents are adequately supervised, it is also about making sure the group home staff don’t abuse the residents. Recently in the news there have been reports of abuse and denial of rights.
These are some of the reports that have been in the news recently:
- 40 year old caregiver, Ramiro Detraglia, was arrested for abusing a disabled person at the New York State operated Individual Residential Alternative (S.O.I.R.A). He was charged with assault and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.
- David Cicarelli of Illinois was denied his right to live closer to his family in a community based group home. He won his civil rights case against the state of Illinois in 2005. The state was required to be in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act that stated people with disabilities be allowed to live in the “most integrated setting”. He was able to move into his new home February 24, 2012.
- In Lufkin, Texas, Carla Jenni Simmons, 45, was charged with injury to a disabled individual. The victim told a supervisor about the incident after being asked about several large bruises on her arm.
Abuse from caregivers can be prevented by making sure that group home staff are properly screened and interviewed before hiring. Coworkers and supervisors can be on the lookout for signs of stress. In addition, it is important that staff is not expected to work extended shifts that prevent sleep. A group home manager should visit the home unexpectedly.
When there are signs of abuse or even concerns, it should be reported and investigated immediately. Residents are not in a position to defend themselves or to advocate themselves, so it is the responsibility of the staff that work with them. If a company that the person working for doesn’t respond to reports of abuse, local adult protective services should be contacted.