Report blames abuse on nurse

Posted: Wednesday, March 08, 2000

ANCHORAGE - A state investigation concluded a nurse at the Anchorage Pioneers' Home physically abused an 83-year-old woman, cutting and bruising her arm.

Salvador Estrada, who resigned in February, also is accused of verbally abusing the woman and three male residents. Estrada responded to threats from a resident by saying they could go outside and fight about it, according to the investigative report released Monday.

The report was done jointly by the state long-term care ombudsman, who oversees some senior-care programs, and the assisted living licensing unit of the state Division of Senior Services. After seeing a draft copy, Estrada resigned effective Feb. 28.

His attorney, Wayne Anthony Ross, said Estrada disputes the report but didn't want to comment himself. Estrada told authorities he didn't think he hurt the woman, but that she screamed because his hands were cold from being outdoors, the report said.

Immediately after the Dec. 10 incident with the woman, the pioneers' home temporarily reassigned Estrada to duties that did not involve direct patient care.

As a result of the incident, certified nursing aides at the home are getting additional training from the Older Persons Action Group about how to communicate with Alzheimer's patients, assistant pioneers' home administrator Michelle Holloway told the Anchorage Daily News.

The Dec. 10 incident began when the resident, who suffers from advanced dementia, yelled for help, as she often did, the report said. The only worker who responded was Estrada, a licensed practical nurse just going on duty, the report said.

He told investigators he found her standing in the hall and got her into her room and into her wheelchair, the report said.

Two other staff members rushed to her room when they heard a second scream. One said she thought she saw Estrada either hitting or pinching the resident's arm, but investigators didn't find physical evidence to support that.

Investigators concluded Estrada caused a fresh tear and small bruise on her arm. His behavior constituted abuse because it was reckless, the report said.

``We didn't find that he intentionally hit her. He was angry with her. He was struggling with her to get her into her room. We think he kind of lost control,'' said Suzan Armstrong-Silva, the assistant long-term care ombudsman.

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