华盛顿州奥林匹亚市最近的一则新闻报道强调了保护老年人免受无良人士侵害的必要性。护士的助手 Kerrina Koch 被指控犯有一项一级盗窃罪和四项贩运赃物罪，这些罪名是基于据称在她工作的高级护理机构进行的犯罪活动。
据警方称，科赫可能从多达六名患者那里偷走了戒指。对科赫活动的调查是在科赫工作的设施花园礼貌记忆护理社区的一名阿尔茨海默病患者的妻子报警后开始的。该女子告诉警方，她丈夫的两枚戒指丢失了，其中一枚价值 1,800 美元，另一枚价值 600 美元。
法庭文件显示，科赫的 MO 可能一直声称她正在拿病人的戒指进行清洁，当戒指从未归还时，依靠他们错误的记忆来掩盖她的踪迹。
据警方称，科赫典当了她据称在 Cash America 偷走的至少两枚戒指。不幸的是，这些戒指已经融化，无法归还给它们的合法拥有者。
国家犯罪背景调查工具在保护老年人免受自己看护人的伤害方面可能非常有用。US OneSEARCH 将姓名和出生日期与来自全国各州和地方数据库的超过 4.5 亿条记录进行比较，以揭示与相关个人相关的任何过去刑事定罪。
Kids aren’t the only people who need to be protected through the use of background checks. Other vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, may also be mistreated by those very individuals entrusted with their care. The risk only increases if background checks are not used to screen out untrustworthy individuals from consideration for positions in which it would be easy for them to take advantage of the seniors under their care.
One recent news story from Olympia, Wash. underscores the need to protect seniors from unscrupulous individuals. Nurse’s aide Kerrina Koch was charged with one count of first-degree theft and four counts of trafficking in stolen property based on criminal activities allegedly carried out at the senior care facility where she works.
According to police, Koch may have stolen rings from as many as six patients. The investigation into Koch’s activities began after the wife of an Alzheimer’s patient at Garden Courte Memory Care Community, the facility where Koch works, called the police. The woman told police that two of her husband’s rings were missing, one of which was valued at $1,800 and the other at $600.
Court documents indicate that Koch’s MO may have been to claim she was taking patients’ rings for cleaning, relying on their faulty memories to cover her tracks when the rings were never returned.
According to police, Koch pawned at least two of the rings she allegedly stole at Cash America. Unfortunately the rings have already been melted down and could not be returned to their rightful owners.
Koch’s story underscores the vulnerability of Alzheimer’s patients and other residents of elder care facilities. While background checks can’t stop crimes like this from happening, they can help reduce the risk of such crimes by preventing elder care facilities from hiring individuals with past convictions in areas like theft, fraud, and abuse.
A national criminal background check tool like US OneSEARCH from backgroundchecks.com could prove quite useful in the effort to protect seniors from being victimized by their own caretakers. US OneSEARCH compares a name and a date of birth against over 450 million records taken from state and local databases across the country to reveal any past criminal convictions associated with the individual in question.
Many states already have rules about background checks for elder care facilities, though these rules are not always as comprehensive or as effective as they could be. For example, Michigan requires a fingerprint-based background check, but only for owners, operators, and certain other individuals. This may leave residents vulnerable to abuse from individuals in positions not subject to the background check.
Kentucky’s proposed elder care background check law would make a better model. If passed, the law would require national rather than state-based background checks and ongoing criminal monitoring of all employees of long term elder care facilities. This approach would definitely help prevent unsuitable individuals from being employed at nursing homes where they may have the opportunity to commit crimes. The ongoing criminal monitoring aspect of the bill is especially noteworthy, because it will enable employers to receive an immediate notification whenever an employee is involved in a criminal case.
The investigation into Koch’s crimes is ongoing. At this time, she has been released without bail, and it is unclear whether or not she has been terminated from employment at Garden Courte Memory Care Community.