A case of elderly neglect has cost an 88-year-old woman her life and a Waipahu caregiver will serve time behind bars for her death.
“Every once in a while we see a severe neglect that results in a death,” said deputy attorney general, Michael Parrish.”
In this case Jennifer Polintan plead guilty Monday in the death of an elderly woman who she was taking care of. That woman, 88-year-old Nona Mosman, who was bed bound and depended on her caregiver. Mosman was a client in Polintan’s care home which was licensed as a community care foster family home (CCFFH).
“We want to make sure we actively pursue the case so that we can send a message to the community at large that we take it very seriously, and when it does happen, you want to be there to get the message out,” said Parrish.
The state says it conducts periodic visits to all licensed facilities.
This specific facility in Waipahu had been inspected before.
“In the beginning, the care was OK, but then at some point, it took a turn and it wasn’t OK, then it snow balled out of control and resulted in a death,” said Parrish.
Hearing about this is a scary situation especially for those who have loved ones in these facilities or for those looking to place them there in the future.
“Hawaii’s population is aging rapidly and it’s something that most of us aren’t prepared for and families really don’t know where to turn,” said Steven Tam, director of advocacy for AARP Hawaii.
And while it may be hard to figure out where to start, experts told us there are a number of resources you can look into.
“It’s always important for family members to really find out and investigate as much as possible about these care homes,” said Tam.
Experts say one of the best options is talking to case managers.
You can also talk to others who have loved ones in homes already and do your research online.
“I think Hawaii is faced with a general lack of information about long term care options and the choices they have,” said Tam. “It’s something people need to educate themselves on more and more right now because the population is growing.”
An investigation revealed that Polintan worked full-time at Schofield Barracks and was absent from the home for 10 hours a day, Monday through Friday. During her extended absences, Polintan left Mosman in the care of individuals who were not duly qualified and who were incapable of carrying out the care plan.
As a result of Polintan’s neglect, Mosman’s health declined rapidly, resulting in her death in May, 2013.
Polintan, who cooperated in the investigation and prosecution, will be sentenced on Jan. 7, 2015. The plea agreement provides that Polintan will serve one year in jail and, in addition, pay $8,980 in restitution to Mosman’s family, $4,888 in restitution to the State of Hawaii, a $600 fine, and court costs.
Deputy Attorney General Michael Parrish encourages community members who suspect that dependent adults are being abused or neglected to contact DHS Adult Protective Services at 808-832-5115, or the AG Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at 808-586-1058.