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Personal Care Homes Not As Safe As You Might Think

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After a mysterious death of a resident from a local personal care home in Clayton County Georgia, Channel 2 began an investigation which revealed alarming findings. 

Robert Rosenthal, a 56 year old male, died in April while he was staying at Guiding Hand Personal Care Home in Jonesboro.  Robert Rosenthal’s sister, Beth Rosenthal, told Channel 2’s investigation reporter Mark Winne that her brother was still talking and walking when she entered Guiding Hand Personal Care Home January 6, 2011. 

In determining what led to Robert Rosenthal’s death, Mark Winne discovered that no certification or license is required in order to be the sole caregiver in these facilities.  The only requirement needed to be a caregiver is to take a CPR course and instruction from management to each resident’s needs. 

Robert Rosenthal began attending the Guiding Hand because he had dementia and he needed more attention than what his family could provide.  About a month after his sister visited him, Ester Edukuye, owner of Guiding Hand and a registered nurse, took Robert to the hospital when he was having trouble breathing.  Edukuye said that if she did not show up that day to take Robert to the hospital, he may have died.  At the hospital, the doctor found Robert to have extensive bruising and welts over most of his body. 

 The Clayton County Police Department was contacted by the hospital.  This, according to Channel 2, sparked an investigation as well as a state investigation by the Department of Community Health into what exactly happened to Robert Rosenthal at the Guiding Hand. 

 Detective Tom Martin from Clayton County Police said, “I believe there was not enough training to handle the patients in that house.”  Beth Rosenthal has now hired attorney Kwame Townes to investigate the possible abuse and represent her in a civil suit.  Townes says that Robert’s medical condition would not occur if Robert had received even the minimal amount of care or oversight at the facility. 

Deputy Director of HealthCare Facility Regulation of DCH, Leslee Pool, commented that Georgia has had a rapid growth of personal care homes registered with the State in the last few years.  Pool also said, “Because the needs of the residents are getting more complex, they [caregivers] probably should have more training and that’s something that we’re attempting to do as we update our regulations.” 

Ester Edukuye, on behalf of Guiding Hand Personal Care Home, released the following statement to Channel 2:

“We are saddened by the death of Mr. Rosenthal and share our sympathies with his family. Since 2009, Guiding Hand Personal Care Home has provided excellent care to its patients. In regard to Mr. Rosenthal’s care and throughout our history, we have met the state’s requirements for training and background checks. I observed Mr. Richardson’s care of patients on a daily basis, and he always provided good care.”

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