Criminals Found Working At Nursing Homes

A disturbing article published in The New York Times reports that 92% of nursing homes employ one or more people who have been convicted of at least one crime…it amounts to 5% of all all nursing homes employees have had at least one criminal conviction. About half of nursing homes employ five or more people with at least one conviction.

While there is no federal law or regulation that specifically requires nursing homes to check criminal history records of prospective employees, it seems wrong that criminals are put in a position of intimate care of vulnerable individuals.

Senator Herb Kohl, Democrat of Wisconsin, who has investigated nursing homes as chairman of the Aging Committee, said: “The current system of background checks is haphazard, inconsistent and full of gaping holes in many states. Predators can easily evade detection during the hiring process, securing jobs that allow them to assault, abuse and steal from defenseless elders.”

It was suggested that nursing homes typically have difficulty recruiting and retaining employees, especially at the low-paying nurse’s aide level. Still, that is no reason to scoop from the bottom of the hiring barrel.

“Even some of the better nursing homes have problems with theft, rampant theft of residents’ clothing and personal possessions, including jewelry,” Dr. [Charlene] Harrington [professor at the School of Nursing of the University of California, San Francisco] said. “People convicted of crimes are often left alone with nursing home residents because the supervision of care is, in many homes, very inadequate.”

The new health care law offers $160 million to states to improve criminal background checks on prospective employees at nursing homes and other providers of long-term care.

HensonFuerst would welcome any change that would keep our valuable, yet vulnerable, senior citizens safer.

To read the full article in The New York Times, click here: Study Finds Criminal Pasts of Nursing Home Workers

To read more about nursing home abuse, please visit our website at If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.

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