Welcome to the world of developmentally disabled ...
This is a true story from someone who has worked in the home healthcare profession. Particularly, we will discuss the Caretaker field as it relates to developmentally disabled adults here in California.
My experience in healthcare totaled about 3 years as a Certified Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide and several years as a Caretaker of family. I was hired on 1/18/12 by Lynn & Darla Supported Living as a Support Coach-- a type of caretaker for developmentally disabled adults. I worked in the homes of developmentally disabled adult clients. My Supervisor and the person who hired me was one Priscilla Carter.
Priscilla Carter would prove to be the most incompetent supervisor I have ever had. How she obtained her position that literally is responsible for the health and welfare of developmentally disabled adults should be the matter of a criminal investigation. She established a habit of not returning phone calls and text messages directly regarding my clients thereby exhibiting gross incompetence and negligence for the well-being of the clients. My supervisor exhibited gross incompetence and negligence in her regard and administration of the activities of daily living, health and welfare of clients. Both of the clients assigned to me were living in dwellings unsuitable and dangerous to their particular physical needs and limitations. Priscilla Carter not only knew about the danger posed to her clients in the dwellings, but she is responsible for putting them there.
There are times when 2 clients live together in the same house and have 2 Support Coaches taking care of them on 8-hour shifts. One of the Support Coaches I worked with is particularly cold and uncommunicative. I believe this other Support Coach, Jessica Vera, conspired with another co-worker, Veronica Blah, in an effort to get me fired. I believe Jessica Vera and Veronica Blah made frivolous and malicious complaints against me to a grossly incompetent supervisor who entertained such complaints.
Well, they got me fired and I applied for unemployment insurance. I was denied unemployment insurance based on lies delivered to EDD by Defendants. I appealed the decision and a hearing was scheduled. I appeared at the hearing where I was confronted by my supervisor, Priscilla Carter, Elaine Huerta, and Executive Director Rhonda Fisher who was on speaker-phone from San Diego. The Defendants gave malicious and grossly incompetent lies under oath in the presence of an Administrative Law Judge. Defendants delivered falsified evidence allegedly from co-workers and Jude of Gateway. Such outrageous lies were not enough to sway a competent judge. I received a favorable decision as a result of the hearing and the original denial of benefits was reversed.
Supervisor, Priscilla Carter, nurtures a hostile and grossly incompetent workplace and has neither the intellectual capacity to understand nor compassion to care for her developmentally disabled clients. She cared more about frivolous and malicious complaints about me than clients suffering by her own incompetence and neglect. Sadly, Executive Director Rhonda Fisher happily engaged in the perjury and false evidence delivered under oath. So, I believe there is no good one can say about Lynn & Darla Supported Living. If they all would stoop to outrageous and incompetent lies to cheat me out of unemployment insurance, what kind of lies would they tell to keep themselves in business to the detriment of their developmentally disabled clients?
A noted investigation by extremely qualified institutions produced a 59-page report in 2003 on "Abuse and Neglect of Adults with Developmental Disabilities: A Public Health Priority for the State of California". The report stated that such clients are "most frequently victimized in their residences by persons they know and who may be responsible for their services and supports; and inadequately educated and supported to recognize, resist, and seek alternatives to abusive situations."
As someone who has worked briefly in the field, I saw my share of what the report illustrates in the major finding stated above. Management I was involved with was more like some type of high school clique intent on being the bully they couldn't be in high school. The people I interacted with cared little to nothing about their clients. All of the clients I saw suffered in some way due to the incompetence of Lynn & Darla. It all begs the question of why didn't I report it sooner? I was still a new employee lasting only 4 months. While I intended to do something about what I witnessed, to a large extent like most other folks I needed paychecks first.
"Experts have reported that the negative consequences of publicity about a crime or abuse in a facility can be severe to that institution. Consequently, facilities and/or their managers may ignore or minimize abuse or neglect allegations." I made 3 complaints to Executive Director, Rhonda Fisher. My guess is she did nothing at all about those complaints even though they outlined gross incompetence by her employees to their clients that put their lives at risk and will probably illicit several lawsuits from their family members or legal guardians.
While California has a layered complaint system for licensed facilities and agencies, what constitutes a reportable event seems to vary from one layer to the next. As a result, reporters of abuse or neglect may meet their obligations with the equivalent of a wink and a nod. Disabled clients do not have the wherewithal or resources to fight through ridiculous red tape. Consequently, responsible parties for abuse and neglect rarely face justice even when crimes end in death.
It appears that there is only one good way to effect change in this industry. People like me working in the trenches must report such crimes not through the proper channels of California statutes, but here in the domain of public opinion. Institutions suspected of crime or abuse have one great fear and that is negative publicity. It is only the public at large that can effect change here. It is people like me and you who must continue to keep them informed and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
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SEE: Part 2 below for specific charges against Lynn & Darla (2 of which I have forwarded to the proper authorities.)
Related Helpful Links
- Abuse and Coverups in Mental, Developmentally Disabled Care
World of Psychology ... You're going to be okay ... we're here to help.
- Developmental Disabilities Resource Center
Case management, Direct services, events and more at this wonderful site.
- Los Angeles Residential Community
We help developmentally disabled adults thrive.
- Develpmentally Disabled -- Blogs
Stories and news that connect ...
- Developmentally Disabled 'Abused & Used' At New York State Group Homes
From Boston's NPR news station
- Jay Nolan Community Services
Supporting people with autism and other developmental disabilites since 1975
- Foundation for the Developmentally Disabled
Floridians investing in the worth of individuals
- Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Federal Open Government Guide
- California Watch
Sloppy investigations leave abuse of disabled unsolved.
- Summer Camp for Developmentally Disabled
Camp helps bridge social divides. by Eve Samples from Florida
- Montana Developmental Center ... Most Expensive
News from the open range state of cowboys ...
- Carlsbad Woman Honored ... Special Olympics
Hip, Hip, Hooray!!!
- Developmentally Disabled News from Baltimore
All news is good news ...
- News from Knoxville
Making lives 'meaningful': Kingston center quietly serves developmentally disabled
- Sugar Chronicles
4-minute video dubunking the "sugar is sugar" campaign.
My ex-client dresses so lovely for our rendevouz.
Careless Caretakers Part II
List of Abuse, Neglect, or Gross Incompetence from Eye-Witness.
1) Support Coach Jessica Vera was unable to attempt the Heimlich maneuver on her choking client and called me in a panic for help. What happens if her client chokes when I'm not there?
2) Veronica (Cid, I believe) was in charge of a client aged over 60 with the mind of a 12-year old. The Client smokes though he has asthma and other chronic breathing disorders. Veronica smokes as well. The client will smoke anything he is given and because she is lazy and grossly incompetent, she gave her client the same cigars she smoked and did so for several years. After I reported to a co-worker that such action would send the client to his eventual date with oxygen in the express lane, he since smokes lite cigarettes. Veronica was removed from the assignment not for endangering her client's life, but for brutalizing his developmentally disabled roommate. The police were called. Yet she remains employed by Lynn & Darla.
3) One of the clients is wheelchair bound and was put in an apartment completely unsuitable for his handicap. There is no wheelchair access to his entrance which puts him in danger on every entrance and exit of his apartment. His wheel chair cannot access the bathroom which puts him in danger every time he has to go. The walls and tiny hallway leading to his bedroom are scraped down to metal in some places from his wheelchair going in and out. I witnessed him fall backwards once trying to get into the bathroom scraping the back of his hand on the metal areas of the damaged hallway wall. The injuries required first aid and perhaps a tetanus shot. I gave first aid but no visit to the doctor was scheduled to my knowledge.
4) A male client was once wheelchair bound and probably still should be. But, he walks because he has that right even though he is extremely at risk for falls and walks extremely slowly and uses whatever is near to steady himself. He was put in an apartment with concrete steps. What happens when he falls and is back in a wheelchair? How does he enter and exit his residence that does not have wheelchair access?
5) I've sent management complaints about Veronica and Jessica. Still they remain as employees though both have shown gross incompetence and neither have the compassion or communication skills necessary for their jobs and their clients suffer because of it. They continue to work and are nurtured by Supervisor Priscilla Carter in a culture of gross incompetence and hostility.
6) A client I was assigned to once a week had no linen with which to sleep that night. It was early afternoon and his sister came by for a visit. I asked him what happened to his linen. He said, "All Piss". All of his clothing and linen were piled in the corner and his room wreaked of urine. I did 4 loads of laundry that day and reported what I saw in the "log book". I report what I see based on my training as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). During my time as an employee for Lynn & Darla, I never met anyone else with my credentials as a nurse. In fact, most of the people I met were totally incompetent. In retaliation by my supervisor, I was given the sole chore of doing his laundry though I only saw him once a week. Coming back from the laundry room once ... I witnessed him fall and injure himself.
7) One of my clients I assisted with a bath and every night I would see bruises on him. I of course reported in the "log book". I was later to find out that no one else was reporting the bruises.
8) Everything I say or reported was noted in the "log book" so the evidence cannot be destroyed. I believe it was my competent note taking that gave my Supervisor extra work and what led to me getting fired. I was over-qualified for the job by their hiring standards. New people would be hired and never show up for work.
Entrance to Ex-Clients Residence
Every time he enters or exits he could fall.
Ex-Client Now Uses a Walker
Since I've left the company, one of my ex-clients appears to be worse off. If he was in danger going up and down those concrete stairs unaided ... what kind of danger is he in trying to use a walker?! Walkers are not meant for stairs. They are meant for flat services and this type of gross incompetence and neglect in my opinion is criminal.