Staff at the Neot Kipat Hazahav nursing home in Haifa filed complaints to the police and the Health Ministry about abuse of elderly residents that they had witnessed as long as a year ago, but nothing was done about it, according to a report on Channel 2 News.
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An earlier, Saturday night report on Channel 2 news showed closed-circuit video footage of staff at Neot Kipat Hazahav striking, cursing and threatening elderly residents.
Speaking at a meeting of his Knesset faction, Kulanu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said he was “shocked to see over the past few days reports and publications about abuse of helpless elderly people.” He added that judges hearing the cases of the alleged abusers should feel as if it were their own parents who had been struck. “There will be no lack of funding to create oversight in old age homes and to treat the helpless,” Kahlon said.
Avi Ruderman, the owner and director of the nursing home, said on Monday that he had asked retired Haifa District Court Judge Prof. Dan Bein to head an independent committee of inquiry to investigate the suspicions. He said families of residents could approach the committee directly and its conclusions would be conveyed in full to the Health Ministry.
Five staff members at Neot Kipat Hazahav were arrested overnight between Saturday and Sunday, and another was detained on Monday evening. The detention of four staff members, suspected of physical and psychological abuse of residents, was extended by two days. The head nurse at the facility, suspected of failure to report the abuse, was released on Sunday to a week’s house arrest and is banned from going near the facility for two weeks.
The Health Ministry made surprise visits to 16 nursing homes throughout the country on Sunday following the Channel 2 report.
Ruderman said that he will begin the search for a new director for the facility, on the recommendation of the Health Ministry.