AUSTIN (KXAN) – Photos posted to social media showing a sleeping elderly woman, her right hand covered in what appears to be dried feces, were posted by a north Austin nursing home employee.
The state agency that oversees adult protective services is now investigating, KXAN confirmed Tuesday.
A second photo shows someone tickling the sleeping woman’s nose with a tissue or feather apparently prompting her to reach up and touch her own face with her dirty hand, which a third photo also shows.
“This nursing facility has reported the incident to DADS [the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services] so we can investigate,” wrote agency spokesperson Kelli Weldon in an email.
“The facility tells DADS it has also reported the incident to police and has suspended the certified nurse aide pending an investigation. We are following up with the facility to make sure it takes all appropriate actions.”
In a Snapchat capture sent to KXAN from a tipster, the poster indicates he works at the Windsor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Duval, located at 5301 W. Duval Rd., as a certified nursing assistant.
A fiery online exchange shows someone offended by the pictures writing: “Imagine if that was your parents…”
The employee responded: “Who gone make me loose [sic] my job surely not you!” When KXAN went to the man’s home, his family said they had no comment.
Then a young man came back outside, responding to KXAN’s questions about the man’s whereabouts and if he would answer why the photos were posted.
“He’s sleeping. We don’t have time for that,” the man said.
“I apologize. I had nothing to do with it. I know his actions [were] wrong,” the young man continued after KXAN asked what he would say to the family of the elderly woman. The facility’s administrator, TJ Helmcamp, would not confirm the allegations citing employee privacy rights.
Helmcamp says in general he would treat an incident like this as borderline exploitation of a resident, and he would take immediate action.
“I’m a man of ethics. If something like that were to happen at a building I manage, I would take every exhaustive effort to ensure [residents’] safety. I would take any kind of personnel action and I would report it to all authorities to ensure that they can also look into that,” he continued.
Helmcamp says he’s also responsible for contacting the resident’s family. “Unfortunately that’s a horrible part of my job to reach out to somebody and let them know of a shortfall or an incident that happened involving one of their loved ones.”
Other Families Speak Out
James Nokes’ father Jim just left Windsor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The 76-year-old had been staying there for four months and in that time, James said his father was mistreated.
“He broke his hip in early November, after Thanksgiving and he was at a facility out in Round Rock, but they had him transferred down to Windsor to do more training, more aggressive physical therapy.”
Instead, James says he noticed a change in the man who was on track to better health.
“He is 100 percent worse than what he was before. He was able to walk on his walker. He was able to use the bathroom by himself, now he’s not able to,” Nokes said.
Last week, James and his mother discovered bruises all along Jim’s arm.
“So we went to the staff, we went to the head nurse, they gave us two different stories, neither one added up,” Nokes describes. “Then, a couple days ago, he was sitting in his bed and he had dried feces all over him. And the nurses failed to change him, didn’t really care about changing him, didn’t really care about doing anything to address the issue.”
James called and reported Windsor to the Department of Family and Protective Services. His family will be seeking legal action — not only for the safety of his father — but for all elderly people who aren’t being protected.
“Look out for things. Ask questions. Get to know the nurses. If they don’t want to get to know you, then talk to the administrator or director. If he doesn’t want to talk to you, now we’ve got a problem,” he said.
DADS, which has a quality reporting system on its website, lists Windsor Nursing as having the lowest score in Austin, with a 25 out of 100.
Call 1-800-458-9858 to report suspected abuse or neglect of people who are older or who have disabilities.