MAPLEWOOD, Minn. (FOX 9) - A senior living home in Maplewood is under investigation after allegations of abuse were caught on a hidden camera.
Maplewood police say they are investigating Maple Hills Senior Living facility and, as of Tuesday, no one had been charged with a crime, but two employees at the facility were out of a job.
"Everything has been a whirlwind," Robert Bronner said. "It’s been spiraling down ever since."
Robert’s father John Bronner has Alzheimer’s, and after John’s wife and primary caretaker, Gloria, recently broke her hip, the family was forced to move John to Maplewood’s Maple Hills Senior Living Home.
"I just thought he’d be taken care of, but he wasn’t," Gloria said.
John only stayed at the facility for about three weeks, before leaving on Tuesday afternoon.
"He left here on a stretcher," Robert said. "Sorry, it’s just hard to swallow."
The family claims staff in the facility abused the 83-year-old.
"And I just saw he wasn’t taken care of," Gloria added.
Gloria’s son Robert decided to take matters into his own hands, watching what was going on inside with a hidden camera in a wall clock.
"They’re torturing him," Robert said. "And you’re listening to my dad on that tape screaming and crying on that thing. It’s ridiculous."
Another video from the camera shows another resident enter John’s room during the night, before staff realize and forcibly remove the person.
"If this is the kind of thing that went on that one night, what has happened, I don’t mean to my dad, but the rest of the residents?" Robert said.
In the last 43 months, the facility has nine substantiated and four inconclusive complaints with the Minnesota Department of Health, ranging from errors with medication, to falls, unexplained injuries, and abuse.
"You don’t treat people that way, our elderly don’t deserve that," Robert said.
Maple Hill sent FOX 9 this statement on Tuesday:
Maple Hill Senior Living in Maplewood confirmed that it terminated the employment of two home health aides last week. Maple Hill’s supervisors determined the two aides improperly transferred a resident from a sitting position. Maple Hill also reported its two former staff to the State of Minnesota.
Executive Director Jalove K. Tillis-Hall, MHA, stated that Maple Hill nursing staff assessed the resident, found no injuries or bruises, and alerted the resident’s family to the incident.
"Maple Hill will not tolerate any abrupt or undignified interaction with any resident living in our community," Ms. Tillis-Hall explained. "Such treatment is against our policies, our training, and our mission to provide a safe and respectful environment for everyone who lives in our community."
The incident was reviewed by Maple Hill after another resident’s family produced a video of the transfer. That video was taken by a hidden camera. Under Minnesota law, families may place hidden video cameras in their residents’ rooms, but in most situations, the families must first notify the facility before operating any hidden camera. Although Maple Hill was unaware that this camera operating, Ms. Tillis-Hall nonetheless thanked the family for coming forward.
Maple Hill will fully cooperate with any investigation launched by the State of Minnesota regarding the alleged conduct of their former staff. Ms. Tillis-Hall also stated that they will continue to investigate this matter to assure that its team provides a safe, professional, and supportive environment for all residents.