Israeli Nursing Home Workers Charged for Abusing Elderly Residents

Police investigation was sparked by video footage shown on Israeli television.

A screenshot from the Channel 2 report showing nursing home staff abusing patients.
Screenshot/Channel 2

Four workers at a Haifa nursing home were indicted Sunday for abusing the elderly residents.

The police investigation was sparked by video footage of their behavior aired on Channel 2 television.

The defendants include three aides – Husam Abu Ahmad, Andrei Keis and Peter Goskov – plus the nurse in charge of the ward, Inessa Schneider. All four are charged with abusing a helpless person in their care. The aides are also charged with aggravated assault, while the nurse is charged with failing to report abuse.

The police have asked that all four be jailed until the end of their trial. The Haifa Magistrate’s Court, where the indictment was filed, will hold hearings on that issue this week and next.

The indictment describes numerous counts of abuse at the Neot Kipat Hazahav nursing home, including hitting, cursing and humiliating the patients.

Inter alia, the aides allegedly moved patients into their wheelchairs in the middle of the night, hours before breakfast was served, meaning they then had to spend hours in their chairs simply doing nothing. The aides also frequently thrust sticks through the front wheels of five patients’ wheelchairs, thereby preventing them from moving; the nurse was charged with that offense as well.

In another incident, aides tied a man in his 80s to his bed in spreadeagle fashion, with each hand tied to the bedrail nearest it, and sometimes each leg as well. The man spent long hours tied in this fashion, sometimes entire nights.

Schneider, who was the nurse in charge of the ward for nine years, ordered another patient similarly tied to his bed for long periods every day for about six weeks, according to the indictment. In addition, it said, she ignored complaints about the aides’ abuse by both patients’ relatives and other workers, declining to either report or investigate them.

In one case, an aide entered a room in the middle of the night and changed an elderly woman’s diaper and clothes in a violent fashion, shaking her from side to side as she wailed, all without saying a word to her. He then pulled her by the arm and head to transfer her to a wheelchair. Finally, he turned out the light and left her in her wheelchair in the dark for three and half hours.

In another case, Abu Ahmad placed his knee on an elderly woman’s stomach and left arm, putting all his weight on it while he changed her clothes, ignoring her sobs and screams. In still another, he hit a patient in the stomach and back 10 times with his hand and elbow, then grabbed her head, moved her to a wheelchair and slapped her on the cheek twice.

The indictment also describes how an 86-year-old man asked another aide to take him to the bathroom. “We have no bathroom here, just a floor,” the aide responded, and repeated this over and over as the man begged to be taken to the bathroom. The aide ordered him to go in his diaper.

In another case, the same patient asked an aide if he wanted to get to know him. The aide responded, “I don’t want to get to know you ... For me you’re just a person, a worthless person.” He then waved a threatening fist at the old man’s face.