Security Expert Witness
"At Risk" Citizen's are being put in harms way by many privately operated HUD facilities. Security Expert J. R. Roberts explains why the disadvantaged are being threatened by negligent and inadequate security that puts them at high risk for fatal neglect, rape, and homicide.
When Alma Mae Miller began to show signs of disorientation, confusion,
and depression, her two sons were concerned.
1.) When interviewing Mrs. Miller, the facility asked for and received extensive financial records which included much of Mrs. Miller's recent medical treatment.
2.) The Millers were assured that "they had someone check regularly on tenants", a claim that was proven to be untrue.
3.) The privately owned facility was part of a large 20 million dollar property portfolio which received government support. The facility in question had incorporated as a senior citizen/nursing home.
4.) The facility was in a unique position to be expected to assess the condition of and safeguard against common breaches of safety and security issues involving seniors. Particularly their vulnerabilities to fall (Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths for Americans 65 years and older)
5.) With a central sprinkler system, and both indoor and outdoor stairwells for the purposes of evacuation, the facility should have installed or offered to install window guards in apartments above the first floor. (In New York, the number of injuries caused by falls from windows decreased 98% after a law required landlords to install window guards) They should have additionally built protective railings around the ledges.
6.) The facility was also in a unique position to note Mrs. Miller was starting to show evidence of "Sundowners Syndrome" a condition associated with early onset of Alzheimer's disease and which created panic, confusion, and disorientation among the patient which is exacerbated in late evening/early morning.
7.) The property in question had the option to:
- Decline to accept Mrs. Miller based on even a cursory review of her potential medical condition.
- Refer Mrs. Miller to one of their more "intensive/full care" facilities
- Insist Mrs. Miller have live in assistance
- Modify the apartment unit (an inexpensive retrofit, window guards run about $8.00) to increase Mrs. Miller's safety
- Place her on the first floor
- Fulfill their obligation to monitor their residence on a regular basis
The failure of the facility to meet and maintain a reasonable standard
of care specific to the population they served, resulted in a tragic
and unnecessary death.
1Center for Disease Control, National Resource Center on Aging &
© J. R. Roberts, Security Strategies