An elderly woman. [illustrative].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Less than a year after elder-abuse at nursing homes made headlines, the Israel Police on Monday announced new cases of the same maltreatment at two similar facilities.
A video was released in which elderly residents, some in their 90s, are shown being abused at a nursing home in Petah Tikva and one in Rehovot. Police further revealed that six suspects were arrested Monday morning, as part of a months-long undercover operation in the homes.
“We came across incidents of unnecessary force in lifting up the elderly and in the care for them, in a manner that brought real suspicion of violent crimes against these elderly,” Israel Police Ch.-Supt. Ziv Sagiv said on Monday.
The investigation uncovered a number of instances of violence by caregivers, including pulling hair, using unnecessary force, throwing dirty towels and diapers at residents’ faces and, in some cases, smothering their elderly victims with pillows.
“The Israel Police views with severity the phenomenon of abuse of helpless people at the hands of their caregivers and our investigation is a part of our fight against this phenomenon,” Sagiv said.
Monday’s arrests came less than one year after national outrage was sparked by a Channel 2 exposé that documented abuse, assault and threats against the elderly by employees at Neot Kipat Hazahav, an elder-care facility in Haifa.
In February, following the exposé and at the instruction of Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz, inspectors from the ministry launched a nationwide operation in which it conducted surprise inspections of 129 nursing homes throughout the country.
The operation was aptly named “Do not cast me away in old age.” It involved two inspectors at each nursing home who toured the facilities and examined interactions between residents and staff, the quality of food and overall cleanliness. Inspectors also interviewed senior staff who were on-duty at the time and four elderly occupants who were selected at random.
Police said they have made combating abuse a priority and have continued to investigate and follow-up on reported cases of abuse.