Faced with footage from a hidden camera, a home health aide from North Bergen admitted that she abused a 90-year-old patient in the bedridden woman’s Clifton home, authorities said Tuesday.
Emma Llanes, 57, “put a cloth over the patient's face without reason, grabbed [her] by the back of the neck and pushed the patient’s head forward, slapped [her] legs and failed to assist the patient while getting dressed,” a complaint filed by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) says.
The footage was captured by a hidden camera that the victim’s family obtained from the DCA’s Safe Care Cam program, state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.
The treatment “raised the strong possibility that her patient could have sustained physical injury,” the state complaint says.
Llanes pleaded guilty to endangerment late last year and was given a conditional dismissal of charges for a year, Grewal said.
State authorities permanently revoked her certification earlier this year, the attorney general said.
The move came as the DCA conducts a sweeping review of how its 51 professional boards address allegations involving the sexual misconduct and abuse of licensees and applicants, Grewal said.
The boards oversee approximately 720,000 active licensed professionals, from accountants and doctors to plumbers and veterinarians, the attorney general said.
The review includes evaluations of whether boards should ask additional questions on license applications, how boards approach investigations and discipline, and how boards engage with complainants alleging sexual misconduct and abuse by a licensee or applicant, he said.
“It’s an egregious abuse of trust when any licensee sexually preys on a patient or client, but it is especially heinous when the victim is an elderly individual under their care,” Grewal said.
He emphasized the need for New Jersey’s professional boards to “remain vigilant in protecting vulnerable patients, as well as the importance of the review they are presently undertaking to better protect victims and hold licensees accountable for their actions.”
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